You’re two days into summer break and you hear the dreaded words, “Mom, I’m bored!” Do you sign them up for more camps, sports, clubs, and lessons? Or do you just let them figure out what to do with the down time? According to Catholic blogger Kate Wicker, there’s nothing wrong with a little boredom.
“I remember when I was growing up, I just spent time with my folks. Summertime was down time; it was vacation time. It was fun!” remarked John Harper, host of Morning Air® on Relevant Radio®.
Wicker’s kids are going to be participating in their parish’s Vacation Bible School this summer. While activities aren’t bad, she says it’s good to not program the whole summer.
“I think there’s something to be said about having some unstructured days when you can, and just sort of letting that imagination—it really can tie into our spiritual life, too. Because I think that if we’re running from one thing to another or now we’re so caught up in screen time … we’re missing out so much on just daydreaming, just thinking. We’ve got to make room for glimpses of God in our life. If we’re always structured and we’re on our screens there’s not that time to really invite God into our life,” Wicker explained.
“We need to teach children creativity, too. As we look at the arts and the beautiful cathedrals and these things that humankind have built, well they’re not going to continue doing that if there’s no time for our children to be creative and to dream up what a beautiful piece of artwork would look like to them or what an architectural masterpiece would look like,” said Wicker. Our kids today are knowledgeable but creativity has dwindled because of all the activities and screen time.
It’s tempting to cave and turn on the TV or schedule a play date when your kids or grandkids start complaining about nothing to do, but it can be beneficial to let them play outside or fend for themselves. She commented, “I notice that when you let your kids … have their own time that they might whine and complain a little bit but they always end up then figuring something out to do and it’s usually the most magical thing.”