When Kid are Bored

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What’s Behind Children Saying:
“I’m Bored?”

1. First, look at your program—is it stimulating where children will not be bored? Do you address the needs of the whole child; do they have enough to do?  Can they choose from: Art, crafts, science/nature, music, gym, outdoors, community service, RAK, cultural diversity, clubs and classes, dramatic play, fine motor, and so on?
Honestly evaluate your program; if it is lacking — meet with your co-workers and offer curricula with more variety and choices. Meet the interests and needs of the children!

2. Second, ask yourself if the child is seeking attention? If this is the case, notice, pay attention, and listen.  Give attention to appropriate behavior whenever you can. Sometimes a short conversation or some one-on-one attention is all the child needs.

3. Next, is there something the child wants to do—but for some reason just can’t at this time?  Often when a child says, “I’m bored,” You can say, “Are you bored”, or is there something you’d like to be doing now…that you can’t?” You may be surprised when you hear, “Yes. I want to be on the computer, and I’m number five.” I’ve been in this position a few times over the years; each time I’ve asked, the child looks surprised and then responds, “Yes, I want to________.”
4. Last, some kids just haven’t learned how to make decisions or entertain themselves. Our children live in a world of constant external stimulation; they are overscheduled where they go from home to school-age care to class, and back to SAC. THEN… there are the sports, dance, music, dinner, homework, and a multitude of other things thrown in.
They haven’t had time to figure out that “doing nothing and just vegging out” is O.K. Help them learn their rhythm, rhyme, and reason. When you feel this may be the case with a child, you can help them along by asking, “What kind of mood are you in?  Do you feel like being slow?… Fast?… In-between?”  Get them to think about what and how they are feeling. The goal is to teach children to find things to do on their own–to relax and reflect — to figure out what THEY like to do!

  • Suggestion: Put together a very long eye-catching list (in large type) of all the activities that are easily available in your program. You should be able to come up with more than 50 ideas. You can ask the children if they looked at the list for something to do.
  • Read note below from Tasha Palmer/California and Click for a sample

7/27/09 A really good idea…from Tasha Palmer who directs a program in California.

She wrote: My kids and I sat down one day and created a list of things that kids can do in the program when they are bored. It started out as one child claiming to be bored. Then it became a challenge. We came up with 100 things by the end of the year. The kids were really creative!

Address the above points and you’ll seldom hear again, “I’m bored”.

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