Motivation for Monday – The Importance of Boredom

I’ve been known to over-schedule my kids. I once thought if every day didn’t have an extra curricular built in, they’d sit around watching tv after school. By the time they reached upper elementary age, this whole plan backfired on me. 

At a certain point, both daughters began to balk at activities they normally loved. Huge tantrums would ensue…and not just from the girls. I wasn’t proud of my own behavior pushing my family out the door to piano, voice, tae kwon do, ice skating, theater, dance, and Girl Scouts. 

So we stopped. We asked the girls what they really wanted to do. Each had her own ideas, but both agreed they wanted more down time.

Read this blog post on Clean, by Rachel Wolf The photographs and poetry are frame worthy. The sentiment describes my daughters to a “T”: 

I don’t need more lessons or activities or organized after-school-anything.
I need to wander out in the rain and the snow.
Aimless and dreaming. Exploring.
Where I will see fairies dancing in the mist.
Give me time for games without rules.
Give me space to run barefoot through the dew.
Give me a childhood unburdened so that I may be the person I am meant to be.
Last week in their down time, my girls built a cardboard doll house from boxes they found in the garage. 

Nature of a servant boredom

My youngest braided friendship bracelets. Strands of string scatter on the floor; evidence of rooms she’s visited. 

Nature of a servant boredom

They both started a fairy garden.

Nature of a Servant Boredom

Again, a lesson learned from my offspring. In the boredom, the free time, creativity shines. I’m motivated this week to take a little more downtime for myself. 

Do you allow your kids to be bored? What do they enjoy doing when they have nowhere else to be?

Related Posts:
Pep Talk
A lesson from the Kids: Everyone is Special

*Results from the weekend giveaway of Twice Cleansed SoapThanks for those who commented, I appreciate your feedback. Minda, Kaili, and Cheryl: I’m going to give each of you a bar to thank you for your support. You will love this product!


  1. Michael Metschan says

    We try and maintain a balance here which is a bit of a mental game – not ever knowing if we actually have a balance at any given time. Shouldn't my kids be learning how to play an instrument or playing sports consistently like other kids?

    Our big challenge during downtime is allure of electronic devices and media available 24/7 – which wasn't a problem when I was a kid. You stayed bored until you figured out something fun or creative to do. I was almost a survival skill.

    I think too many people are running in circles in an effort to ensure their kids can compete and get that masters degree and make lots of money when they grow up. I read an article tonight titled: "The 'Real Winners Of The World' Don't Have Work-Life Balance, They Have Work". We want our kids to be successful but not as the world currently defines it – look where that has gotten us.

    Our kids do need to be challenged, but downtime allows our kids time for introspection, creativity and a chance to quietly observe the world around them. I refuse to let my kids become tools in this increasingly insane world. I want my kids to be the leaders, the ones who have the wisdom to chart a new course because they know who they are and haven't been defined by someone else's measure of success.

    Thanks for stepping out and initiating these types of conversations Andee and sharing your pearls of wisdom!

  2. says

    Michael, you are right. It is a total mental game. One I bet our parents didn't even think about.
    I do think kids have to be involved in some extra-curriculars, but there have been times where we've gotten out of hand. Their attitudes are our clue as to if they are too over scheduled. It's a balance, for sure.

  3. says

    Andee, I've always been the slacker mom in my group of friends. Part of it was due to limited resources on our part – partly due to limited interest on the part of the kids. Neither of my kids is interested in being a part of multiple activities, and I didn't want the misery that came with forcing them to do things they didn't want to do. (I have no problem playing the parent card when it comes to health, safety, or homework – never fear.) We also have a rule at my house – if you say "I'm bored," you get a chore. However – I have one who's much better at entertaining himself than the other — the lure of electronics wins out every time for one of them. Not sure what this summer will bring – I need to have some options available.

    In other words — I have no flipping idea what the right answer is, and I'm still bewildered.

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