As we live in a time where pediatricians actually recommend limiting screen time as a matter of health, I have been thinking a ton about my time as a child. I was never a big television fan, and even avoided watching too many cartoons thanks to my constant desire to play outside. Now I am a huge proponent of pushing kids away from electronics, but not because of the media itself. I just think they have lost one of my most precious sources of nostalgia: being bored.

Too Much Stimulation

When I was a kid I spent a significant portion of my time being bored out of my skull. That is a feeling that children today rarely feel, and have a constant stream of remedies for. Games are everywhere from on the TV, to on our phones. Media can be streamed from any device. Social media keeps them connected with their friends even when they can’t communicate in person, no matter where they are.

I have heard friends of mine talking about how great it is that their kids never have to struggle to come up with things to do. It’s not like it was when we were kids, and the only thing you could find on a Sunday was religious programming and golf. But what they fail to realize is that those times of boredom had their place, and now that we have lost them it might not be a great thing.

The Importance Of Being Bored

We all remember what it was like to have nothing to do. We would sulk around, from room to room. Maybe go outside and walk around the yard, or wander down the street. Our minds would seek out something - anything - that could qualify as fun for even a few moments. Imagination would kick in, and we would have to make our own entertainment. Don’t we as adults always miss that wild imagination of our youth?

Learning to entertain oneself is a crucial skill. Imagining new worlds, problem solving, and creative play are how your child discovers the wonders of their environment. It is how the figure things out for themselves, and ultimately develops skills they will use later in life.

Through boredom children learn patience, stress relief, self reliance, and to think outside of the box. Without it, entertainment is spoon fed to them; they never develop these important tools to help them later in life. That could even lead to depression, thanks to a lack of perspective, and an inability to find peace without constant stimulation.

Leave Your Kids To Their Own Devices

Every family should plan time to be together, doing activities that have been planned in advance. But that doesn’t mean every moment should be filled with something for your child can do. The best way you can help your child to discover themselves and the world around them is to unplug the TV, take away the phone, and tell them to go play.

It might take them some time to appreciate it, but before long your child will come to recognize boredom, and use it to their advantage.

Author's Bio: 

Tyler Jacobson is a proud father, husband, writer and outreach specialist with experience helping parents and organizations that help troubled teen boys. Tyler has focused on helping through honest advice and humor on: modern day parenting, struggles in school, the impact of social media, addiction, mental disorders, and issues facing teenagers now. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | Linkedin