For the Grown-Ups
"Momma, I'm Bored!" The Beautiful Benefits of Boredom

"Momma, I'm Bored!" The Beautiful Benefits of Boredom

Boredom. It can be teeth-grittingly uncomfortable, can't it? It can provoke all sorts of feelings from confusion to loss to despair. It can make a body squirmy and agitated. It inspires us to reach for ANYTHING to get out of that feeling.

These days, we almost never let ourselves be bored, since stimulation and engagement is always at our fingertips.

But boredom is valuable. It's the open space from which creativity can arise. It's the restful downtime our minds and bodies need.

In fact, I'll bet you've seen it in your home: bored and restless kids suddenly have an idea for a new game, or set to creating art, or begin to spin a story they want to play out. Forced downtime (or forced screen-free time) has lead to all sorts of things at our house, from the creation of a new hand-drawn card game to the invention of a whole-yard game-of-battle that involved water guns, plums, and the giant beans from our catalpa tree. Those creations wouldn't have happened without that moment of boredom!

Do they have to get through the itchy-scritchy, cranky section of boredom before inspiration hits? Sometimes. There is no doubt in my mind that the games wouldn't have happened without the itchy-scritchy, cranky-bored part.

There is (science to support the idea that "boredom is good")[]. What do these studies show?

Boredom inspires creative thinking. It can lead to daydreaming in which your mind is free to make new connections. Boredom is good for mental health. Most of us live lives of constant stimulation, which can be true for kids as well. Unplugging and allowing ourselves to be bored can be restful for the mind.

It helps to hold the belief that "boredom is good" — and then find some clear ways to respond to your children and yourself, such as: - "Yes, you feel bored! I can see that. I can see it's making you feel all wiggly and squiggly." - "You'll find something. Keep exploring." - "Wonderful! I have so many ways you can help today! Plop down right here and let's fold laundry together."

And you know Sparkle! We have stories to help — stories that both value boredom as helpful and stories that offer ideas for "twists" on the experience of boredom.

Try our (Boredom is Beautiful)[] playlist.

Or, if you want to toss a little idea the way of your bored kiddos, see the Sparkle Team's list of (77 activity ideas)[]!

About the Author

Lisabeth Sewell

Doer of Many Wonderful and Odd Things (including CEO)

Lisabeth Sewell has worn many hats at Sparkle over the years, from Sparkle Kitchen Blogger to Editorial Director to Doer of All Odd Jobs. Her primary role is as CEO.

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