Parenting Information

Its OK For Your Child To Be Bored - In Fact, Its Recommended!


NY -- Strange as it may sound, bordom promotes happier, creative kids who are better problem solvers. When children use their own creativity with unstructured play, they find ways to amuse themselves -- even if it means simply daydreaming.

That's the advice of child development expert, Alan M. Hess who wants to see American children spend more time in unstructured play, less time in structured activities and much less time in front of mindless TV programs.Hess states, "Plain and simple, it's called creative child development.I recognize that in our society, it's a hard concept for peopke to grasp at first.

"Many American parents who work 60 to 70 hours a week impose a very structured lifestyle on their children. They're concerned about boredom, so they overschedule to keep kids busy. Believe it or not, there is a direct relationship between boredom and creative thought."

Alan Hess, president of Safari Ltd., with its line of museum quality creative toys, is a noted authority and respected expert in developing creative play for children. Hess states, "Think back to when you were a kid and you will recall valuable lessons. Left to our own devices we discovered resources we didn't know we had. I'm concerned that our busy, well-entertained children may not ever have the chance to learn them."

Hess, states, "Although most of the products that I've been involved with are designed for children four and up, especially our current Safari line of products, I constantly study toddler trends. Several pediatric physicions, who are part of our research team, have shared some disturbing trends with me regarding middle and upper class parents who push their children to the extremes in the hopes that this will provide a better foundation for the child's future.

"They've told me about situations where parents are determined to find the "perfect three year old" pre-school so that their daughter will be prepared for law school later in life. Other parents make their children compete in soccer matches and karate competiton when the child is recovering from the flu. Their misguided reasoning is that the child needs to learn what competition means, regardless of illness, or circumstances. This thinking is insane."

Hess firmly believes that children need time to be children. Creativity, social skills and fun are vital to a well-rounded child. He suggests that parents help children get the most out of unstructured play by limiting TV. Parents might also provide materials, creative toys and even gentle suggestions, if necessary. Parental guidance and parental participation is also important. Hess said, "Bored kids eventually take out the paints, build a dinosaur den, read a book ... and create things, or they come home sweaty from a game of neighborhood soccer. Our educational, nature and science toys with a special focus on scale-model animal and dinosaur replicas are big favorites with children. They love the fantasy play and the fun of creating their own world."

This concept of boredom is new territory at the beginning because children may be upset that they can't watch TV. They may also bicker with their siblings. Hess states, "Working or single parent households may have even more of a challenge, but he strongly encourages parents not to give in and flip on the TV, or let kids watch a video."

The lifelong benefits of unstructured play are so great that Hess urges parents to try to find an hour a week for it. And he offers these tips to make things easier:

Set Limits to TV and Video Play. There is something very wrong with the fact that many children watch an average of 38 hours per week. Cutting back can provide unstructured play time. Most parents and care takers passively allow the media to routinely expose kids to violence and sex when they would never let an individual, or educational institution expose their children to this type of content.

Far too many children spend hours each day at computers, playing with hand-held game devices, or watching videos. Hess suggests that parents set a firm daily limit to these activities. Hess says, "The value of a toy is simple to calculate...to what degree does the toy invite imagination and creativity? After a week, if you find that your child is more interested in playing with the toy box instead of the toy, you've wasted money and time."

Unstructured play time doesn't require a huge investment in new toys. Hess cites one focus group study where two boys were playing with toys. One girl had an electronically enhanced dinosaur and she boasted: "My dinosaur can say 500 words!" The other boy, who was holding a Safari dinosaur countered with: "My dino can say anything I want it to say and it looks like a real dino."

Hess states, "We hear so much about hyperactive children who are medicated as a result of this behavior. Is the child really hyperactive, or does the child simply need more unstructured play time? Children are free spirits and when that's denied, we see physical and mental manifstations that have a negative impact on a healthy childhood.

"Spend time watching your child play. This can show children that adults value their play," Hess says. It's not necessary to join in, although that's great fun too, as long as parents don't try to take over. In fact, one highly successful parenting strategy involves spending time each day with your child doing whatever he or she chooses to do."

During this "special time," the child makes the decisions, controls the flow of the play and assigns all roles. It's unstructured play time for your child, yet you get to participate.It's important for us to share time with children and it shows them that you value their play.

Hess encourages parents to give this bordom concept a serious try. He states, "Giving your children a break from organized activities and electronic baby-sitters could very well mean sentencing them to boredom, at least at first, but it will open up a whole new world of creativity, fun and adventure as it helps them expand their minds."

www.safariltd.com

About The Author

Alan Hess, president of Safari Ltd., has an extensive marketing background with a wide array of highly successful toy and hobby products. One of the key factors in his success is his understanding of child development research and his ability to apply that knowledge to product development.

  


MORE RESOURCES:

New York Times (blog)

Parenting and Heart Attacks
New York Times (blog)
Private Lives: Personal essays on the news of the world and the news of our lives. “Anything I should know before I go home?” I asked the chief cardiologist, trying not to sound terrified. “Just don't lift stuff over 10 pounds for a few weeks.” “My ...

and more »


Waiting for the Bat Signal: The Passing of a Parenting Legend
Huffington Post
But Cahill, along with the other founders, envisaged not just a boob-help-hotline, but a community of mothers guiding and nurturing each other through their parenting journeys. I've called LLL twice. But I've asked average LLL mamas innumerable ...



Present Moment Parenting in the 21st Century
Huffington Post
If you are, or will soon be, a parent, congratulations! You are on a wild and wonderful ride full of ups and downs, ins and outs and a whole lot of trial and error. Parenting has always been this way, and yet, we live in a time like never before. Our ...



Unequal Societies Give an Incentive for Pushy Parenting
New York Times
That is the conclusion of a pair of European economists who set out to study something more nebulous than interest rates or deficit reduction: parenting styles, and specifically the rise of so-called helicopter parenting, a topic endlessly discussed in ...

and more »


People Magazine

Jenna Bush Hager: What My Mom Taught Me About Parenting
People Magazine
The new mom says her parenting methods may differ from her mother's. “I was a teacher, so I'm creating structure and discipline. I'm a little bit more of an enforcer,” she says. But, “When the time is right I hope I can sit back and allow Mila to ...



Daily Mail

Expert claims good parenting has little effect on a child's IQ
Daily Mail
After studying the habits of adoptive parents, Professor Beaver found that there was no association between parenting and a child's intelligence later in life. His study strengthens the theory that intelligence (illustrated in a stock image) is passed ...
Parenting Style Probably Does Not Raise IQ in ChildrenPsychCentral.com
Child's later-life intelligence 'not influenced by parenting'Medical News Today
'Parenting' plays little role in child's IQ developmentABP News

all 21 news articles »


The payoff for strict parenting
Washington Post
I bristle when I hear people talking about “helicopter parenting.” Yes, some parents are a little too manic about the success of their children. I was part of a group of mothers once in which one woman was fretting about how far behind her 3-year old ...



'This Is How We Do' Parody Is Two Minutes Of Parenting Truth
Huffington Post
Who says multi-tasking is impossible? Brenna Jennings, of Suburban Snapshots, knows that is just how moms gets sh*t done. Her new parody video, set to Katy Perry's "This Is How We Do" (natch) goes out to "all the ladies in last night's makeup... at ...



The hidden economics behind strict parenting
Washington Post (blog)
The rise of helicopter parents like Amy Chua, whose 2011 book "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" brought attention to an increasingly popular parenting style emphasizing hard work and strict child rearing, could be less of a cultural phenomenon than a ...



Parenting: No instructions included
HLNtv.com
Parenting is the most rewarding and most challenging job on earth. New York City-based photographer Danielle Guenther decided to put some real-life scenarios into still shots. Guenther, who is also a mother, decided to create the series after a session ...


Google News

Article List | Index | Site Map
All logos, trademarks and articles on this site are property and copyright of their respective owner(s).
The comments are property of their posters, all the rest is Copyright © 2006 CanadaSEEK.com - All Rights Reserved.