Yes, you, cramming a gazillion activities into your child’s schedule. Here are compelling reasons to schedule boredom instead.

You don’t want to read this… Maybe you fret that your kiddo will get into trouble. Maybe you’re afraid he’ll *GASP* not score all A*s. Maybe you’re afraid… Do you see what the pattern is? You’re afraid.

Says Daniel Koh, a psychologist with Insights Mind Centre, “It’s sad that some parents don’t want to accept the importance of relaxation and just having [non-directed] fun because it doesn’t produce results. But it’s the long-term effects that are important.

“Some parents said their kids can relax ‘after school [is done]’ but that may be too late. And anyway, ‘after school’ comes work stress — so, it just accumulates forever! It is only when ‘something’ happens that it is too late to regret.”

Will allowing your child to get bored offer active benefits? Most definitely, yes!

1) It allows your child’s brain to wind down and relax.

Koh says, “There should be time to wind down and relax (just doing nothing that requires brain power) because it helps to recharge the brain, so it can be more effective on the next task!”

Admittedly, many children don’t take long to want to do something else, and probably grab their phone/computer game right away — you might want to lock those in a cupboard. Talk to your child and really listen <>; model just relaxing to your child; let them listen to music or you could ask your child to help you in simple chores.

Koh adds, “Relaxation also helps to dispose of accumulated stress, frustrations, and similar feelings, so your child will be calmer to focus on his next task. Without rest, one is more likely to burn out, give up, show less resilience, poor concentration and decision making abilities.”

2) Your child can learn to entertain himself and plan.

Seriously, you’re not going to be there to plan every activity for him when he’s a working adult, are you? A common complaint these days is that young adults are less resilient and less able to work things out and just less capable.

A Frontiers in Psychology study in 2014 showed that having more “less structured” time helps kids develop their planning abilities, organisation skills, memory and even their flexibility when confronted with problems. All vitally important as they grow up!

3) Boredom can stimulate creativity.

Want a creative child — one who grows up to be the world’s greatest economist guiding Singapore to a brighter future, or the engineer whose idea saves thousands in a catastrophe, or the doctor who thinks up the next great medical breakthrough, or an artist who creates beauty you cannot now imagine, or a singer beyond compare? Let your child be bored and find and develop his own interests, instead of being forced into every “child development class” you can find. British author Meera Syal, told British education expert Teresa Bolton, “boredom made her write”. Keeping a diary from a young age, she filled it with observations, short stories, poems and diatribe. Syal attributes these early beginnings to her journey to becoming a writer late in life.

So, who knows what your bored child could create?

4) If you keep packing in activities, he could become stressed.

Says Koh, “When children are constantly stimulated, they fear or get anxious when they have nothing to do, hence forgetting to relax and have fun. Some finish everything quickly, so as to go on to next task, which may not help learning about processes, [they just go] through the motions.”

And really, what’s more pathetic than an over-scheduled child who’s not keen on any of the activities he’s involved in?

5) Sometimes, boredom is a sign.

Not everyone can do everything. Maybe 18 activities you’ve chosen for your child to do just doesn’t cut it. So, it may be time to let go — and let your kiddo find his own interests…

Photo: iStock

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