Why We Shouldn't Be Afraid To let Children Be Bored

As adults a break from Instagram was a huge eye opener as to how little we allow our minds to slow down. Actually slow down. Even as someone conscious of mindfulness & slow living — I realised that I would fill a lot of the days voids & breaks scrolling or flicking between emails, apps & messages. It was purely habitual. I only truly noticed it once I had given it all up. Waiting for coffee, in a line or when you stop the car even after driving for only a little while -- what do you do — go for a scroll on Instagram to fill the blanks.

What did a break from technology do? It showed me what I once knew pre-my own business— the blanks are where the magic happens. The blanks allow your imagination back through the door. The blanks slow you down & reveal intuitive thoughts. The blanks calm your entire being & the messages are heard in the silence.

In saying that — No, I’m not giving up Instagram forever, it is a very powerful tool for creating & sharing messages. It has a lot of purpose, but what I have done is turn off notifications for a while & will continue to consciously use it. Allowing the blanks.

What it did show us is how much technology must be effecting the developing mind of children. Nat & I began to think more about the disconnect for children, after we saw what it did for both of us. What if they never learn to be bored? Never revelling in the blanks. As soon as they are looking around aimlessly it is a common thread to hand them a device to calm the boredom. I know a lot of people who limit it, but there are a lot who don’t. Too much use stops the mind from having the blanks where their creative thinking & imagination emerges. It takes away their contentment in the present because they are always ‘entertained’.

As a society are we afraid to let children be bored?

Science says that children’s brains are actually developing differently compared to our generation. We were told stories, able to focus & our minds organically wandered. Dr Jim Taylor from The University Of San Franscisco says —

‘the Internet was invented and children were thrust into a vastly different environment in which, because distraction is the norm, consistent attention is impossible, imagination is unnecessary, and memory is inhibited.’

Basically children’s brains are being wired differently. He also says that technology does have a time & a place in learning, however it really needs to be limited. We too agree with this & aren’t preaching to be anti-tech. We believe they should learn how to use technology, yet not become reliant on electronic stimulation as a form of entertainment.

Even during our programs, which are tech free — the children may not be engaged in certain experiences even if they are play-based. We use that as an opportunity to inspire their minds, we watch where they can take their thoughts, rather than moving on because they are bored. 90% of the time, we see a huge shift in their engagement once they realise we won’t be moving on to something else!

If we could all start to see boredom as a time for a child to channel their creative genius, instead of irritation — knowing that life’s blanks are where they are most in tune with their inner being — we will raise conscious, imaginative & intelligent children!

Don’t be afraid to let them be bored — it’s in life’s blanks that the creative soul emerges.