Bored kids are the worst.
Kids hate being bored so much it makes them blind. Blind to the hundreds of toys staring them in the face, blind to the dozens of books within arms reach, blind to the open space and fresh air in the backyard.
They hate it so much it makes them deaf, too. Deaf to their parents reminders of all those toys and books. Deaf to their parents’ threats that if they don’t stop complaining about being bored, all those toys and books will be given to someone who will actually use them!
About the only thing it doesn’t make them is mute, because bored kids literally never stop telling you about it.
One of us had a rough Saturday night (*coughMOMANDBURIEDcough*), so our plans to attend some Renaissance Faire thing were scuttled in favor of sitting on the couch all day long. Eventually, around three, we decided to make it a family movie afternoon, but – thanks to children being the devil and getting up at the crack of dawn on the weekends! – that still left a solid eight hours during which Detective Munch needed to be entertained.
Because I’m a borderline-decent parent, I didn’t let him stare into a screen all morning long, which is why the trouble started. Without the TV or the iPad or Zelda, my 7-year-old was at a total loss.
But this isn’t just about screen time. I had far fewer tech-based options when I was growing up and I can remember whining about being bored too, despite just as many toys and books and crayons and whatevers as my kids. The fact is, boredom is rarely about boredom.
Most of the time, “I’m bored” is just code for “give me something I want!” Sometimes that’s food, sometimes it’s a new toy, sometimes it’s just attention. But guess what? Sometimes you’re not gonna get what you want, Junior!
Part of being a human being is learning how to occupy yourself. Boredom doesn’t go away with age! When you’re a teenager, you’ll have a fun new way to pass the time (WINK WINK!), and when you’re an adult, you’ll be bored AF by your bored kids telling you how bored they are. So it’s important for kids to learn how to handle it ASAP, without our help.
Parents are obligated to feed, clothe, educate and protect our kids, but we don’t need to entertain them too!
When you have children, there are a million things to worry about, a million worries to stress over, a million problems to solve. Some are intense and scary, like gun violence, allergies, and illness; some are inevitable and irritating, like tantrums, sleep training, and bullying; and some are stupid and annoying, like boredom.
I have zero sympathy for the bored child. I won’t tell my kids that “only boring people are bored” because that’s kinda fucked up. But I will ignore the whining and wait for them to use their imaginations to solve the issue because Daddy don’t got time for that.
I’ll only have myself to blame when they start lighting fires just to amuse themselves. But if idle hands are the devil’s playground, then it’s his turn to take them to the damn park.