By Anna Passyn, LPC
We were running around. Running errands, running to appointments, lamenting the evils of traffic and hectic schedules. And then we weren’t. The busy have been slowed and the movers and shakers are left without much to move or shake.
At the beginning, which was a mere few days ago, we binged on news. How much has the virus spread? How much food do we need? How do we protect ourselves, our kids, our parents? How do I homeschool my kids? While I’m working? What do I tell my college-aged child about her school and classes? At this point, some of the questions have been answered and some will need time to resolve. And, as time marches on, we are running into a new-to-this-day-and-age issue, boredom. What to do?
If you’re a parent, and the kids are bouncing – or sulking – around you complaining of boredom, please take a moment before you “fix” that problem for them. Count to 30 in your head and see what happens.
While extended boredom can become problematic, often being bored is the seed of creativity. Having that moment, that space in your head in between this thing and that thing, may be all your child needs to push themselves to do something out of the ordinary; this may be the catalyst your child needs to try something new, or at least something newish. This could mean something as simple as dusting off the board games or starting a puzzle, running sprints to stay in shape or creating a new game to play in the yard. Maybe your younger child would like to explore in the kitchen; what can you teach them how to make? Reading directions, sequencing and measuring are all skills learned, but tacitly. What the child will remember is making his first batch of brownies.
We long for routine, but part of our nature is to be seekers, to be explorers and inventors. We are not going to sports practices or school, work or the mall. In light of that, how can you facilitate a shift from boredom to discovery? How can you encourage your kids – and yourself – to dip into something different? Would a brainstorming session help? Maybe in offering a few things you’d be willing to do or try will inspire other members of your family to think more creatively about what they are ready to try.
One successful journey into the new will be invaluable. You, and your child, will be able to look back on that moment, together and separately, and know that boredom is not terrible, it is not an enemy, and delicious brownies were eaten by all.
Let the adventures begin.