I believe children today need more “good” stress in their life. The reason they need these more than ever is because in our high tech, instant gratification world, our children are not experiencing these important stresses.
Hardship, fear, boredom and failure…..we know this is good for our children.
In many cases, things come way too fast and too easy for our children!
Adding to this, young parents are unknowingly protecting and shielding their children from everything. Stress is good and vital for the development of everything from your muscles to your immune system to your intelligence. Children need to “skin their knees and eat dirt”!
Take a moment and think: Did your children experience any of these stressed today? When was the last time they experienced any of these at a very deep emotional level? They need all four in small and big doses every day!
Today I want to focus on boredom.
Remember when we were kids. You could give us a couple sticks, a cardboard box and a few rocks and we could play with them for hours. Today, kids have a closet full of toys, video games and tablets but still say “I’m bored”. So, what has changed?
The world and society has changed. Technology has made many parts of our lives better but not raising kids.
So why is being bored good for kids. First, it teaches patience and self-control (FOCUS) which later develops into discipline. Has your child ever had a fit or breakdown because they did not get what they wanted?
Second, the stress of boredom stimulates and develops some vital skills in a child. The skills of creativity, curiosity and imagination. Any educator will tell you these are so important in the development of preschoolers. Video and other sophisticated games take this all away. They are actually passive activities because they require little thought and no creativity. You just “plug” you child in and they are just actively stimulate (and over stimulated). These games are designed to be addictive.
So why do we work so hard to keep our kids from being bored? Simple answer. Because is it easier! It is easier than dealing with a bored child (at first)! It is much easier to hand them our smartphone than deal with the complaining and crying. This is not easy but it will take some hard, intentional work on your part but I can guarantee the hard work you put into your child now will pay off huge later!
So, what can you do? First, just start by noticing. Just notice every time your child is bored. Then just change your perspective – “my child getting bored is GOOD”. It is not a bad thing to be avoided or mitigated. Then just realize every time your child gets bored it is a priceless learning opportunity. Then encourage them to use their imagination to formulate ways of stimulating mental and physical growth..ie build a fort, put together a puzzle, design an imaginary world etc... the options are endless
When they are riding in a car - just let them sit there. When you are eating in a restaurant – just let them sit there, and start a conversation with them...ask them about their day their plans for the future. When they are eating dinner at home – put away all the screens and just let them sit there. When you are with your adult friends – just let them sit there.
We intentionally do two things that directly causes boredom at our dojo – first, with increasing frequency as they get more advanced, we repeat the same drills and routines over and over to force the stress of boredom. Kata is a good example.
Second, at the end of every class we make them sit still in silence (MOKUSO) for 60 seconds. This stillness, or mindfulness is much more powerful than you think.
Boredom – Bring it on. It is GOOD!
Have an amazing week