"Mom, I'm bored! I do not know what to do!" Familiar words, right? For some reason, it is the child's complaints of boredom that cause a storm of feelings in parents - from irritation to anxiety and guilt. What is so dangerous lies in boredom and what needs of the child it reveals, the psychologist Katerina Demina will help to figure it out.
What is boredom?
This condition happens to everyone - both children and adults. We toil, we don’t know what to do with ourselves, we wander from corner to corner. But not always such a pause in business, a state of boredom and despondency means that the child urgently needs to come up with new activities.
And this is exactly what most parents do when a child complains of boredom: we either immediately start thinking of something for him to distract us, or we get angry because he distracts us from our affairs. In addition, the words "Mom, I'm bored!" almost guaranteed to trigger feelings of guilt and anxiety in us: firstly, I am a bad mother, because the child complains, which means that he feels bad, he suffers. Secondly, since a child does not know how to occupy himself, this is a sure sign that we did not raise him that way, did not provide him with enough opportunities for development, did not teach him to look for entertainment on his own, and in general, it is not clear what future awaits him now.
But the fact is that, regardless of the methods of upbringing adopted in the family, modern children are really much worse able to find a job and organize games. The main reasons for this lie in two circumstances: these are electronic gadgets, on which they are “addicted” from infancy, and the current urban environment, which offers too few opportunities for children to interact with each other.
From whom we take an example
In the evolutionary norm, children develop by watching and imitating their elders. The baby is constantly with his mother and among people - so he does not feel anxiety and anxiety, all the resources of his psyche are used for growth and development. Just a couple of generations ago, kids had the opportunity to watch how the lives of both adults and other children are constantly filled with events.
Here the grandmother is preparing dinner, the kid is sitting nearby and watching, he is given a couple of saucepans and a wooden spoon. And if everything happens in a large communal kitchen - there are even more interesting things around! Here, my mother washes things in the trough, and my father solders, repairs the car, assembles and disassembles the receiver. Grandfather at home could be engaged in some kind of handicraft, or draw, or repair shoes. And there are so many neighborhood children of different ages around, everyone communicates, plays “siskin” and “bouncers”, dolls and daughters-mothers, everyone quarrels and makes peace, invents new games and changes the rules of the usual ones. Of course, our lives have changed a lot since then, but there is still much to learn and much to imitate.
One of the most important problems of today's children is not the lack of opportunities for communication or interesting activities (if desired, they can be found or organized), but a passion for gadgets. Please note that even during a walk, children sit on a bench, each has a tablet or phone in their hands, or one plays - the rest are watching, or each plays his own. At home, the child also watches, mainly, the parent's backs, covering the screen. Agree that the modern household is no longer so exciting and labor-intensive, there is nothing special to imitate, except to unload and reload the washing machine or dishwasher.
Business or fun?
You can do a simple experiment, and chances are you've done it before and seen amazing results. At the dacha, in the village or on a hike, where there is no computer and the Internet, boredom is also not in sight. After all, there are things that simply need to be done, for example: bring firewood, heat the stove or make a fire, watch the fire, bring water, cook food. There are a number of domestic animals that need to be fed and walked, there is a garden, a vegetable garden, trips to the “big” village for bread…
Plus there is a company of neighborhood children of all ages, bicycles, scooters, fishing, board games and amateur performances. Yes, by the evening the parents fall off their feet, but they definitely do not need to solve the daily task - "what to do with the children so that they do not destroy the house." Rather, the problem was "how to get them to dinner." The conclusion is very simple. A child really needs to be taught to play, to show him the world, to offer a variety of opportunities for the application of fantasy and strength. In his experience, there are no ready-made patterns of interaction with either objects or people. It is good when there are several children in the family and the elders are ready to play with the baby. But who will teach the elders?
Besides, the number of children who do not go to kindergarten, but only to “razvitka” is increasing. Somewhere there are not enough places in the gardens, somewhere the conditions are not at all suitable, but the problem remains: the child misses a vitally important stage for him - development in the game. Because there are no free interactions of children at the "razvvalki", only structured pastime, study. But children should definitely play, it's biologically programmed.
Missed game stage will then take its toll, in elementary school. So let's agree: the best way to prevent boredom is to protect kids from gadgets, invite companies of different ages to visit, try to take the child to kindergarten from the age of three and not expect that he will be able to play on his own and "entertain himself" for at least years until five.
Where are you from, boredom?
Let's try to figure out what may be hiding behind the child's complaints that he has absolutely nothing to do and does not want to do anything.
Creative boredom - a state in which some event, plan is ripening inside, pushing in the chest or in the head like a poem not yet written. We vaguely feel this as pressure, as something that must take place, but we do not yet know how and what exactly. This, as the poets wrote, is a kind of “languishing of the spirit”, and this state is resourceful, that is, it gives the potential for further actions.
It is simply unreasonable to interrupt such a state on purpose, because it is precisely from this boredom that insights are obtained and achievements “grow up”. But in order for creative energy to finally find its channel and strike like lightning, solitude and time are needed. Turn off the TV and phone, close the tablet, listen to yourself. Think back to your winter holidays. Adults didn’t have such long days off then, on January 2 everyone returned to work, the children were left alone or they were sent to their grandmother. There is one program on TV, cartoons or films are shown once a day.
You can, of course, walk around and get bored out loud: “Grandma, well, I’m bored, come up with something!” But you won’t spoil with your grandmother, she can plant cereals to sort out or remember that during the holidays they were asked to read something according to the program. So it's better and safer to invent something yourself. You wander around the house for an hour - you see, the idea of stringing buttons on a string seems quite attractive to itself. This kind of boredom is actually just a pause, during which the child only needs your presence.
Anxiety. At school - problems, parents quarreled, a cat ran away or a friend called an offensive word - all this stops creative processes in the soul, gets stuck in a stuffy and prickly lump in the throat and stomach. For small children, up to 8-9 years old, it is unbearable, for example, to wait for a mother if she is absent for a long time (and a long time is more than half an hour). If in early adolescence for any child half a day in an empty apartment is a gift and happiness, then for a child of 4-5 years old this is an exorbitant burden.
Yes, our grandmothers had to run the household and look after newborns from the age of three, but we will not consider survival in wartime the norm these days, right? It turns out that an outwardly bored child simply does not know how to distract himself from helpless resentment. The TV is just a good distraction, but when my mother comes home, she starts swearing that the lessons have not been done, the soup has not been eaten. And the child was just waiting for you to exhale, relax and finally begin to live on.
Overload of impressions. The state when "sick of sweets" (sweets are impressions), and the psyche needs time to process and put into long-term memory the whole heap of what he saw, heard passed. The “cure” for such a state is the so-called “stimulus deprivation”, or “silence mode”. Just remove all stimuli - visual, sound, informational - and help the child to stay in a "pause" for a while, to be silent, to listen to the sensations.
Inability to play. What looks like boredom is actually a child's inability to take care of themselves. This often happens if his acquaintance with the TV or computer games took place too early. The principle of operation of electronic games and applications is based on the link "action - immediate reaction": in order to get a result, the child simply needs to move his finger across the screen, press the buttons or their certain sequence, always the same, and there is practically no delay between these events.
In addition, the child is in a passive role, does not use imagination, fantasy, new ideas, does not show initiative, is not forced to negotiate with other participants about the rules of the game or develop their own rules. At the same time, many parents are sure that the child simply must be able to play independently and for a long time from the age of 3-4. But this is not the case, and such unrealistic expectations are one of the main causes of parental annoyance.
The desire to get new experiences. This is boredom under the motto: "I want something, but I don't know what." This is when there is something real, attractive and magical, but for some reason it is not available. Then what is at hand loses all its value at once, everything becomes as if shrouded in a dusty haze, the focus of attention is focused on the desired object. And all the “substitutes” are rejected: of course, who in their right mind and solid memory will play boring cubes when the newest set of transformers was shown on TV. The best way to cope with boredom in this case is not to offer the child a ready-made solution or an idea that he can implement himself, but to do something unusual with him: cook a Japanese-style dinner, draw a family tree.
Need for attention. Very often, when telling parents about boredom, a child does not mean that he has nothing to do at a given time, but that he feels lonely, restless, misses your attention. You should not offer options for classes, this is not what the child needs now. Just say calmly: “Yes, dear, I see you have nothing to do,” hug the child, pat on the head. A good option is to talk with the child about himself, “fill” him with your emotions related to the fact that he is, he is loved: these can be stories about how he was little, or some funny cases, or just a list like “you like apples, building sand towers, bathing in foam.”
The need for tactile contact. Sometimes it is enough to hug and kiss a child, hold it in your arms or arrange a session of noisy tactile games - wrestle, cuddle and tickle each other as a joke. It is important at the same time to focus on communicating with the child, putting aside other things and giving him all your attention. You can suggest some activities or just say, "Let's hug and sit like this for a while, and then figure out what to do next."
Long wait for some event. Perhaps the child is just in a period of active waiting: for example, waiting for a trip to grandma or going for a walk. But he still does not have an “adult” sense of time, and he does not have enough patience. If this is the reason, the child will need your help to wait for the event: let it be short games, riddles or assignments to each other. By the way, boys are more often bored because they want to take a walk on the street, to feel the active movement. And girls are more likely to suffer from a lack of communication. Another common, but not at all obvious reason for boredom is stuffiness in the room! Lack of fresh air can cause lethargy, melancholy and irritation, and the child will complain of boredom.
Note to parents
Try not to leave your child to play alone. Together with educational games and age-appropriate toys, offer ordinary, everyday items as toys - kitchen utensils, containers, large beads, natural materials, etc. Stimulate the physical and tactile activity of the baby, walk more - but not in shopping centers, but on modern playgrounds with "climbs", sandboxes.
Preschoolers enjoy playing with older children, so it's a good idea to find one. But the game must be gently "modeled" - to teach children to negotiate and interact, to offer options for the development of the game, to diversify the repertoire of classes. Do not count on the fact that now the child is able to occupy himself for a long time, the limit of his independent play is 30-40 minutes. It is desirable that neither a computer, nor a tablet, nor a smartphone be used to fill the child's leisure time.
7-9 years old
The child already knows how to occupy himself, but he needs time to "ripen the idea." Be more interested in his affairs, plans, mood, but control less. Pay attention to signs of anxiety, try to immediately identify and eliminate its possible causes.
10-12 years old
Do not overload your child with studies and extra activities, make sure that his schedule includes "doing nothing" (at least 1.5 hours a day - they are necessary for rest and development). Allow "chat" and chat on the phone, but limit the time on the computer.