I have a favourite saying to my girls and it is "only bored people get bored". But do our children really ever get the opportunity to be bored these days? With so many playdates, after school clubs, extra curriculum activities and this is without the draw of YouTube or on demand TV, do children have time to be bored?
The ease of access to technology, particularly in our house means that there is always something to watch and even to watch other children playing (this is a bizarre concept to me). However new research has revealed that kids have been spending just 3 hours per day away from their screens, while only 31% of parents admitted to giving a bored child a digital device to keep them occupied.
Conducted by BIC® as part of its Young Artist Award, the study found that kids complain about being bored on average 122 times a month – that’s 1,500 times a year. With the words “I’m bored” being dreaded by 69% of parents.
In response to the findings, renowned child education consultant Dr Martin Stephen said that “boredom is a brilliant platform from which children learn to use their imaginations …. It’s important that we continue to develop core skills such as drawing and writing.”
He continued, “Drawing and writing with a pen aren’t old fashioned and out-dated – they’re proved state-of-the-art and affordable boosters to the child’s body and brain: the ultimate fertiliser for the imagination.”
My girls do love their iPads but we always encourage screen free times with creativity and a family board game. From the study's findings, here are the top 10 ways that parents try to banish their children's boredom.
- Playing board games with them (42%)
- Putting on the TV (40%)
- Providing a pen and paper for drawing / writing (39%)
- Handing them a book to read (34%)
- Providing a tablet/iPad (31%)
- Cooking with them (26%)
- Going to the zoo or park (24%)
- Putting on a games console (20%)
- Taking them to a friend’s house (17%)
- Playing imaginary games with them (17%)
So while, ,creativity can be encouraged via digital games it’s important that we continue to develop core skills such as drawing and writing as it’s been proven that these skills aid creativity and imagination.
“What a child sees and does on a screen can encourage creativity but all too often it’s the creativity and imagination of the designer, not the child. Drawing and writing with a pen aren’t old-fashioned and out-dated - they’re proven state-of-the-art and affordable boosters to the child’s body and brain: the ultimate fertiliser for the imagination.”
It is good to let the mind wander ..... to be fair I think mine wanders off completely at times (but I digress) however this research is really interesting for us as parents to recognise that although we encourage the online design and educational games, there really is nothing like picking up a pen or pencil and creating something all of your own!