With Day One of a six-day visit from our grandchildren under our belts, we’re already amazed at how fast they’re growing up and how everything changes from visit to visit.
They both soak up everything like sponges, learning and growing as a natural response to the abundant stimulation that is life.
A few days ago I read the summary of a new report from a team of developmental psychologists. They concluded that boredom is good for kids! What they meant, of course, is that over planning, over supervising, and over controlling children’s activities will deny them the conditions required for more imaginative, inventive, creative play.
This is not a new idea. As a parent, a teacher for two decades, and now a grandparent, I have seen this truth play out time and again. That’s why Rebekah and are a huge proponents of blocks, wooden trains, Legos, books, puzzles, art supplies etc. Anything and everything that doesn’t have a battery, buttons to push, require hands on supervision, or have too many specific instructions.
IT’s not the being bored part that’s good so much as it is the impetus to deal with the boredom in creative ways.
Right now, as I am writing, four-year-old David is asking me to solve a word problem for him. “I’ll let you figure that out for yourself,” I say. Less than a minute later he’s excitedly hopping up and down because he found the solution.
Children need to be constantly exposed to circumstances where they need to figure things out for themselves, where their play is exploratory and requires the application of imagination.
Back when our children were very young Andrew had a friend over. “I’m bored,” we heard the kid say, looking for someone to entertain him. “You don’t want to let my mama hear you say that,” we overheard Andrew reply. “That’s considered a crime in our house. She’ll make you wash windows or clean the bathroom.”
That was no exaggeration! We had visiting kids vacuuming, dusting, and more. “There’s never any excuse for being bored!” we’d say.
Use your imagination! Turn some boxes into a house! Make up stories! Figure something out.
This week we’re already enjoying a lot of creative play. Hopefully I’ll get to document some of it here.
Peace, always – DEREK
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there's always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor's degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men's Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.