Advice from a teacher for parents, grandparents,or caregivers
I’m giving advice this summer in place of my Tuesday is for Teachers, referring to the children you care for as “your” children.
Are your children or grandchildren in the mid-summer slump?
Are they complaining of being bored yet?
Have they been to camp or on vacation and think they have nothing to look forward to?
Kids in my city are almost through with summer! The new calendar has them starting in just three weeks. But in many places around the country July is hot, humid, and sluggish. the right weather mix for bored kids.
I always think of Peter Spier’s book, Bored! Nothing to Do when I think of bored children. It’s a terrific story with Spier’s incredible art, but the story may worry you if your children are as inventive as these two! Two boys build an airplane out of discarded supplies around their house. And the plane works! You have to see these pictures to appreciate it. Let me confess right off the bat that I am an advocate of boredom. I recently heard Malcolm Goldberg say that his mother always told him that boredom was a good thing – it gave his brain time to rest!
I can remember complaining to my mother that I was bored, and she would tell me to go outside and play. I could whine with the best of them, but she always had several suggestions.
It is so easy today to turn on a screen for kids — phone, pad, computer, TV, etc. They are seldom bored with these screens, but they may be missing out on some important moments that can lead to creativity.
Dr. Rex Jung, a neuropsychologist, studies intelligence and creativity. He says when the brain “meanders” or seems to have a downtime, the creative process of the brain travels down sideroads to put ideas together. In practical terms, think of the times your children or grandchildren or even when you were a child were bored. Creative activities or play emerged because there was not a schedule or something structured.
The best preschools and kindergarten programs provide opportunities for this type of play (unless someone has decided they should be tested!). With various centers available children can choose to play with blocks, musical toys, puppets, art, “dress up”, or just time to browse in books.
These moments don’t always turn into some grand creative moment, but that’s not the point. Children need time to be bored, time to find their own way, time to imagine and dream. Watch what happens when they do. Sometimes all they need is a scarf!
My thanks to Great-Niece Ezri for demonstrating her creative talents!
I am thankful for my years of working in Mother’s Day Out, preschool, and kindergarten that allowed and encouraged young children to create and imagine.