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The Beauty of Boredom

This summer, we’ve decided to take a closer look at the importance of fun and play in our lives.  There are plenty of opportunities to get outside and enjoy a family activity no matter where you live whether your idea of fun is visiting a theme park, strolling through a city park, or hiking through the wilds.  While those experiences are certainly a lot of fun, they also usually require a lot of planning.  Let’s face it, if you’re going to spend a fair amount of money traveling to a new location to spend a week of your hard-earned vacation time, you want to get the most of it.  Many family vacations are filled to the brim with planned activities and specific stops.

Sound familiar?  That level of planning doesn’t just stop with vacations.  Our daily lives are filled with structure, schedules, and appointments.  Even in the summer time, kids often fall into a similar day-to-day schedule that is often ruled by sports practices, summer camps, or other planned activities.  It’s easy to fill your child’s life with events that keep them occupied, safe, and entertained.

But what happened to boredom?

I know what you’re thinking, but boredom is an important and necessary part of growing up.  Don’t believe me?  Do a quick search on the importance of boredom and I’m sure you’ll find hundreds of articles from therapists, doctors, educators, and more that all say the same thing.  Today, we’re going to take a break from the planned fun that can improve your life and take a closer look at how boredom can help improve the lives of your children.

Boredom Promotes Creativity

A little counter-intuitive perhaps, but if you stop to think about it for a moment we’re sure you’ll agree.  When we constantly set out a rigorous plan of activities to fill our children’s days, we don’t give them a chance to explore the world in their way.  We tell them do this, finish that, play with this, follow these rules.  Boredom, however, gets the child to think what can I do, what haven’t I done in a while, where can I go, how can I play?

Yes, they will complain.  Yes, they will whine.  But eventually, the boredom will drive them elsewhere and suddenly their eyes will open up to a world of possibilities.  That pile of sticks in the backyard becomes the framework for a fort.  Those leaves falling in the yard suddenly become stencils for a new art project.  Or those toys that haven’t been played with in months suddenly come alive again and go on new and exciting adventures.

Boredom Refuels Us

Our world is moving faster than ever.  With digital access to so much information and entertainment, it is easy to get swept away – and not just us, but our kids as well.  Taking an hour to be bored by removing some of that stimulation is actually healthy.  It allows our minds and bodies to refuel, to replenish some of the energy that gets drained by all of the devices in our lives.

So let your kids be bored.  Let yourself be bored.  It’s not a matter of laziness, but a matter of self-preservation.  When the world around us keeps speeding up, sometimes the only solution is to come to a full stop for a while.  Cutting free of the super-paced world also cuts us free of the stress and anxiety that go along with it, which is vital for our mental health.

Boredom Motivates Us

When we find ourselves with nothing to do, we really only have two options – either sit and do nothing (there’s nothing wrong with a good day-dream), or find something to do.  That self-motivation is a skill that we start learning when we are young.  If you don’t provide the stimulation, your children will need to stimulate themselves.  Some may do that homework or those chores they were putting off.  Others may read or draw.  You may be surprised to find that those two children of yours who never got along have suddenly teamed up together in the war against boredom and are now playing together.

Stranger things have happened, right?

Boredom Forces Us To Look Inward

This can be a scary and challenging thing for some people.  When we have a lack of stimulation (either internal or external) that creates a sense of boredom, we are forced to look inward.  This self-analysis can be rather frightening as we are faced with all of the inner issues and baggage that we’ve buried beneath being busy for so long.  On the other hand, it can also be freeing.  As we look inward, we explore the depths of who we are and what makes us unique.  We address dreams and wishes that were smothered by demands of work or family.  We have a chance to grab hold of who we want to become instead of just existing as who we are now.

In that sense, boredom is a vital tool for growth, not just for adults, but for children as well.

The Beauty of Boredom

When we are bored, we are forced to analyze the quality of our lives.  Are the activities that fill our days fulfilling us in the same way?  If you step into any airport terminal in the world, we’re sure that you’ll see examples of boredom.  Many turn to their phones to provide stimulation that eats through the minutes until boarding and beyond.  But what if we didn’t pull out our phones?  What if we embraced the boredom and all that it has to offer.  Perhaps we could see the world in a new way, and find a happier place within it.  Perhaps it could encourage us to push ourselves out of our comfort zone and ask our neighbor at the terminal, “Where are you headed?”  Perhaps if we relied a little less on technology to keep our minds occupied and focused on meaningless data, we could discover new meaning in the ways we interact, explore, and live.

Perhaps boredom could be the best weapon to fight against the negativity in the world and find beauty and peace in ourselves and others.

With that thought in mind, we at Fun Unlimited would like to wish all of you a healthy, happy dose of boredom.