The importance of being bored

Yesterday really felt like the day after a big event…a proper anticlimax. My hips joints were also so sore from carrying Bethan miles around London in a sling that I was hobbling about like an injured weeble and opted for a quiet day at home. The girls and I sat at the window and watched the torrential rain turn the road into a river and turned to the DVD and jigsaw collections for some gentle entertainment.

Later I popped upstairs for a shower and I soon noticed that I couldn’t hear Catrin singing or dancing around the living room anymore. Suspecting mischief and/or extreme mess, I went downstairs and found her fast asleep in a nest of cushions which she had built around herself, while Bethan squeaked away to herself in the walker. I treated myself to an episode of ‘My Kitchen Rules’ while I fed Bethan and enjoyed a moment of peace. After the votes for the desserts had been cast, Catrin began to stir from her sleep and from the nest of cushions came the most almighty trump…followed by a small, apologetic voice “sorry I did that, Mummy”.

Sleeping nest
Sleeping nest

I used to feel guilty about having relatively inactive days with the girls but I recently read some interesting articles about the importance of boredom as it gives opportunity for children to fill their time by using their imagination. (Like this article from last year: http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/education-21895704). I watched Catrin and realised that this is true…she dressed her lurid teddy bear in its new blue sequin dress and pretended it was Elsa (from ‘Frozen’); she built a cave for her glowing dinosaur and created life stories for the jungle animals in her jigsaw puzzle. When I was a kid I used to spend my days climbing trees, cycling for miles with friends and playing in the mud until the sun set and my parents called me in for tea. The TV only had 4 channels (and one of those was a Welsh language channel) so I didn’t watch it much and, of course, iPhones and the like didn’t exist. I had plenty of time to be bored and to read hundreds of great books (paper ones) and just to watch the world go by. My imagination was vivid and well-exercised then (and still is now) as a result of constructive boredom.

I doubt my parents felt the need to provide me with constant entertainment like I do with my daughters…maybe my guilt stems from living in a world so reliant on technology and with entertainment being such an integral part of that (as well as so much advice about what parents should do to develop their children’s maths, reading and writing skills and suchlike). So I have resolved to stop feeling guilty about my children being bored occasionally…I will now look at it as facilitating the development of their imaginations (I can even have a cup of tea and a biscuit while I am doing so).

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