It is OK for children to be bored. I wrote that knowing full well that at the moment, I am bored. I haven’t left my house in days and I am trying to establish a routine that creates a sense of normalcy for my family. Two college kids moved home with all of their (disheveled and questionably clean belongings) and have taken over the house once again. My husband works from home regularly so suddenly, here we are, 4 adults, trying to work and create calm from the chaos. I cannot imagine getting this done with young children.
That is when it occurred to me that we should all take some time out of each day to do absolutely nothing. Nothing? How can someone in my position (home overflowing with people, a feisty puppy, IKEA bags full of dorm essentials, and a mountain of laundry that could be a prop for a Disney roller coaster) begin to suggest such a thing? Boredom is a choice? But hear me out.
Boredom sounds negative but let’s reframe it and call it downtime. When is the last time you actually allowed yourself some downtime and heaven forbid, actually enjoyed it? Probably not in recent memory. In a society that is so driven and committed, having an unscheduled block of time is mostly unheard of if not impossible. But now that we are all home (except for the amazing front line workers who are battles COVID-19 for us), I am challenging everyone to sit back and reflect, meditate, take a nap, or whatever you would like to do with a block of time. Laundry will always be there. Cleaning and organizing can wait. And dare I say that a good ole’ PBJ does in fact serve as dinner.
We are facing uncertain times and if we take some downtime for ourselves, perhaps we can emerge refreshed and with a clearer sense of what needs to be done next. The exact same principle works for children. They do not need to be entertained every minute of every hour. Let them learn at this young age that a few minutes of quiet time is a good thing. Let them have time to have to rely on their own imagination and creativity. Let them play alone (properly supervised!!). Learning to self-reflect and self-guide through stressful times is a life skill that is as important as learning to read and write.
Hopefully, when we can all emerge from this crisis, we will do so with a renewed sense of purpose and what is truly important. And believe me, the answer will never be clean laundry.