Happy holidays! As parents, I’m sure you’re hearing a lot of “I’m bored” which is invariably followed by some sulking isn’t it? Well take heart, you aren’t alone. Most importantly, it isn’t your job to keep your children entertained. Think back to your own childhood. Do you remember complaining that you were bored? On the contrary, there was never enough time to do all the things we wanted to do right?
But we live in different times now. What we often recommend to parents who come to AIS, our autism treatment center in UAE, is (surprise, surprise!) to just let your children be. It’s important to note that boredom can actually be good for kids. It allows their minds to wander and find a solution to this boredom – often in the most creative way!
As a parent of a child who is neurotypical or with signs of autism, take note of these:
- STRIKE A BALANCE: Make sure there is enough unstructured time amidst all the schedules we make for our children these days. Having so much activity slotted and a lot of the stimulation being from external sources is what leads to those two words you dread to hear.
- WHAT KIND OF BOREDOM: Pay attention to the kind of boredom your child is experiencing. Is it the need for a bigger challenge? Is it the attention he/she is seeking? In the former, you could join in or suggest leveling up the activity they are already doing. If it is a lament to gain your attention, a quick cuddle might give them the assurance they need to get back to an activity or start on something afresh.
- THE BOREDOM JAR: Get your little one to make chits of things they like and you like (a good way to slip in some chores) and put them in a jar. The next time you hear “I’m bored”, you know what to do!
Here are a range of activities you could consider for the jar:
Create your own space with the ROBLOX world online where your child gets to indulge in different roles. Again since this is online, you might want to save it for scheduled screen time.
Good ol’ clay comes to the rescue here. The act of creation is always a joy for children and with clay, they get to be messy too!
An activity does not always have to mean running around. Get your child some mental stimulation. This vacation, introduce them to the art of playing checkers or chess. The latter has kept people hooked for thousands of years. Who knows? You might be the next Magnus – and you’ll only know if you try.
Let your child discover a local library and the fun of being enveloped in the world of reading. Discover whole new worlds or learn a new skill. Your kids might discover a favorite writer or decide to write themselves!
Ever seen children bored in a bustling kitchen? Of course not! Depending on their age, decide on a no-cook recipe from the Internet or a simple one and see them revel in the process of cooking.
- CARD GAMES
The possibilities are endless here. From card games to card magic or building a card house even.
- ART AWAY
Paint and paper, it is as simple as that. Let them run riot with colors!
These are only ideas. Every child has his/her own unique interests and activities that they enjoy doing. Once you find out what these are, join in and let it be double the fun!
If you’re looking for ways to keep your child engaged and entertained during the holidays in Dubai, consider the valuable advice from AIS, an autism treatment center. While boredom can be viewed as a negative, it can actually foster creativity and problem-solving skills in children. Striking a balance between structured and unstructured time is essential, allowing their minds to explore and discover new solutions.
Read this also: People with Autism: Building Social Skills and Real Connections