Raising Our Kids: 'I'm Bored'
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Here are three ways to help your child learn to manage well when confronted with situations or times that aren’t terribly exciting. Working on these will make the boring times less unpleasant for your child and, perhaps more importantly, for you!
- Resist the urge to rescue. When your child is bored, don’t always volunteer to be a playmate. Sometimes it is best for your child to figure out how to occupy himself with toys, games, or his imagination.
- Cultivate independence. There is a direct correlation between contentment and independence. A child that has the ability to learn and use age-appropriate life skills (pouring milk, tying shoes, bathing, doing homework alone, calling a friend) will be much more likely to feel able to cope with down time and boredom.
- Limit screens. I know you’ve heard this hundreds of times, but here’s another reason to limit recreational screen time (TV, computer, phone, video games) to a total of no more than two hours a day. Kids that rely on screens to occupy themselves are much less likely to be able to manage well at a restaurant, on the beach, in a store, or any other time that screens aren’t available.
Once your child learns how to feel good even when life isn’t exciting, you will be surprised at how much happier and content she will be. And of course, this will have a direct impact on your contentment as well! Happy November.
Dr. Susan Bartell is a Long Island-based, nationally recognized child psychologist, speaker, and award-winning author. Her latest book is The Top 50 Questions Kids Ask. Read more of Dr. Bartell’s advice at nymetroparents.com/bartell.