“I’m bored” should be two of the most thrilling words children say to us.
“I’m bored” demonstrates a child’s willingness to go outside their default game, the usual videos or familiar TV shows. This is our big chance to suggest activities that will engage children in one of their proven talents.
The child’s emotional payoff will make it easier next time to get outside the usual.
For some children, that could mean engaging in art or learning karate. For one girl, it meant party planning. At 10 years old, she was demonstrating ability in leadership and organization. She loved planning things and being in charge, and she was creative.
Her mother suggested that she plan a surprise party for her sister.
The girl shifted into gear with great enthusiasm. She dreamed up a theme and activities. She planned out the schedule of what should be done when. She created a guest list and invited people.
She designed a menu that would go with the party theme, then made a list of supplies and food for her mother to pick up. This 10-year-old was clearly in her element, and her joy in surprising her sister with a fun party and friends was evident.
Certainly there is a cost to supporting and encouraging a child’s abilities and interests.
Expect to see an impact on the way money will be spent, amount and type of family time spent, and choice of activities outside the home and school.
It could mean recruiting extended family to pay for lessons. As a great-aunt, I’m always looking for birthday gifts that the kids will like and use. Recently I made a comment to two of my nieces about the artistic ability I see in their children. I talked about gifting summer cartooning classes to the one who lives near the Charles Schultz Museum. We know her son is artistic, but let’s see if cartooning fuels a spark in him.
Learn to see boredom as an opportunity for creativity and development for the children in your life. You never know what it might spark.
Next week: The unluckiest kids in the neighborhood
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