Want to be a great parent? Let your children be bored

From books, arts and sports classes to iPads and television, many parents do everything in their power to entertain and educate their children. But what would happen if children were just left to be bored from time to time? How would it affect their development?

I began to think about boredom and children when I was researching the influence of television on children’s storytelling in the 1990s. Surprised at the lack of imagination in many of the hundreds of stories I read by ten to 12 year-old children in five different Norfolk schools, I wondered if this might partly be an effect of TV viewing. Findings of earlier research had revealed that television does indeed reduce children’s imaginative capacities.

For instance, a large scale study carried out in Canada in the 1980s as television was gradually being extended across the country, compared children in three communities – one which had four TV channels, one with one channel and one with none. The researchers studied these communities on two occasions, just before one of the towns obtained television for the first time, and again two years later. The children in the no-TV town scored significantly higher than the others on divergent thinking skills, a measure of imaginativeness. This was until they, too, got TV – when their skills dropped to the same level as that of the other children.

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Photo by Joel Overbeck on Unsplash

Free Montessori Webinar for Parents

We encourage parents to attend the free 45-minute webinar Finding Motivation the Montessori Way on Thursday November 1, 2012 from 4:00 PM to 4:45 PM PDT.

Motivation is too often thought of in terms of carrot and stick methods of rewards and punishments. Join Maren Schmidt, a certified Montessori educator with over 25 years experience, as she shares how self-motivation develops the Montessori Way.

During this webinar, Maren will explore the following:

  • Why rewards and punishments rarely motivate behavior for the long term
  • What three psychological needs motivate each of us to be our best
  • How Montessori environments of school and home support these three critical need

Register now