Entertaining bored kids

Hands Full
Last Updated 22 July 2010, 12:14 IST

Parenting in a modern metropolis has become something of a competitive sport and one of the most dreaded words in child-rearing vocabulary seems to be ‘boredom’. “Parents fear that a bored child is an annoying child or worse, one who finds trouble although Albert Einstein is said to have developed the theory of relativity when he was in a particularly bored state of mind,” says child psychologist Sarah Kureshi.

“But boredom was a perfectly natural phenomena in the past and often led to creativity and play. It was a quiet time to sit and reflect — to decide what to do next. It often got a child’s creative juices churning — and developed spontaneity and imagination.”

Shreyaan and Amaira Seth, aged seven and four, are quintessential urban children who have a busy after school schedule that involves Taekwando, swimming, music classes and art lessons. “My wife Drithi, is actively involved in planning their activities and ensuring they have fun-based learning activities right through the week,” says dad Vishal.

Shobha has two active sons, Karan and Nikhil, who have a busy school timetable and a mix of sports and art related activities after.

“During the week, they have a whole slew of extra classes but I pace them carefully, so it does not become a stressful exercise. Sundays are set aside for complete relaxation and unstructured family time — no studies or club activities, and they decide what to do with the day,” says Shobha.

“It is healthy to schedule unstructured family time occasionally. Let the kids decide what to do on a holiday. Maybe stay in pajamas all day, order pizza and watch a movie? Go bike riding, dance to favourite CDs or plant a tree...You will be pleasantly surprised how much fun it can be,” advises Sarah.

“When two-year-olds are sent to pre-nursery and bombarded with constant activity — hobby classes, playstations and computer games — their minds become conditioned to constant stimuli. Take that away and the mind feels lost,” says eighth grade teacher Theresa Matthew.

“I find it useful to give my kids free time. Part of why kids complain they are bored is that they're used to having someone else plan their entertainment for them. Give them the responsibility of entertaining themselves and they are bound to get better at it.”

(Published 22 July 2010, 12:14 IST)

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