Sound familiar? I used to say this to my parents all the time, even into my teens. Believing that your parents are responsible to entertain you is an innate belief in children. Parents feel on the spot to provide a solution or even like a bad parent if they haven’t entertained their children.
It is easier today than ever for teens to get bored. Children and teens boredom is easy to satisfy in the moment with the constant access to electronic entertainment (YouTube, Social Media, Video Games, etc). However, this constant access has created an increase in boredom as well. Teens are requiring “bigger and better” entertainment to be entertained. Their attention span is decreasing. Teens require more intense entertainment at a faster pace to not get bored. Electronic entertainment has also impacted their enjoyment of face-to-face socializing with family and friends. Social skills are decreasing with social anxiety rates increasing.
What should you do when your children and teens get bored?
Children need unstructured time. One of the biggest challenges as children is learning how to manage unstructured time. This is an important skill for your children to learn. Unstructured time is essential for children and teens. It gives them the opportunity to learn decision making. It helps them to explore their inner and outer world and begin to discover who they are. This is time when they explore their creative and authentic self.
A key to this unstructured time is no screen time. A good way to start is to agree as a family to times during the week that the family won’t use any devices. One day a week or a few hours a day. You may get some push back, but it will be worth it. Just encourage them and use your connection to help them see the value.
Think about before we had phones and we had to just wait in line or at the movies. Remember, how your mind would wonder to creative things or solve problems. This ability to vacillate between focused and unfocused thinking helps to create a sense of self and empathy.
Boredom is normal is teens and encourages them to actively entertain themselves. Join my Correction to Connection Workshop for more tips about parenting teens.