I believe in letting kids be bored. In my house growing up we were not allowed to say, "I'm bored." We called it the "B" word. This wasn't a bad thing. We had a home with a learning environment with plenty of time and resources to make ourselves useful and creative. I have mostly kept up that same motto in my home, "If you're bored, I have plenty of work for you to do!" But I'm changing my ways (as with so many other things in my life). I'm no longer wanting to turn to chores to "cure" their boredom.
Before JW started public school, he would practice the piano for 1-2 hours every day. Not all in one chunk, of course, just minutes here and minutes there. It's just where he went when he was bored. Since starting school, however, he comes home almost deflated. He wants to use his few hours of free time playing with siblings and relaxing. Can't blame him. But I hate to see his love for piano dwindle simply because of the time factor.
Similarly, our home schedule has changed and with a more unstructured schedule, my kids have plenty of time to get bored. Several times throughout the day I'll notice their state of boredom and pull out one of my planned activities for the day, or we'll simply read some books aloud. I'm noticing, however, that B has been having more spurts of boredom than the younger kids. Results? My "I'm not a reader" child picked up a book and read it in one day. Why? Boredom.
In today's world, everything is structured for our kids. They go to school. With the few hours between coming home and going to bed we cram in music lessons, organized sports, and dance classes. If it's not one child, it's the other, leaving the rest of the family in the car during transportation.
President Uchtdorf's recent conference talk rang true to me. We need to SLOW DOWN. He said, "If life and its rushed pace and many stresses have made it difficult for you to feel like rejoicing, then perhaps now is a good time to refocus on what matters most."
I miss JW's continuous music throughout the day. I'm loving our new schedule that is a little bit more conducive to my children using their creativity. Kids need time to explore, to explore the world and to explore themselves. Now when my kids say the words, "I'm bored," my response is not longer, "Get the chore list." Instead, I will respond, "I'm sure you'll think of something great to do. Do you need my help to get the ball rolling?"
"Life is to be enjoyed, not simply endured" (President Hinckley). That's my goal for myself and for my children.