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Let Your Kids Get Bored; Apparently, It’s Good For Them
March 27, 2013
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Anyone who's a parent can probably testify to this - there a couple of things children say that are particularly annoying.

There's the universally recognized - "Are we there yet?" Beloved by every parent, especially when you've only got two more hours to go.

Another has to be that rather disheartening "I'm borrrrred" on just the second day of March break. Always a popular one.

Of course, when little Malcolm or Amanda says they're bored, the first instinct of many a parent is to find something for them to do.

But is that the best thing to do? Well, maybe not.

Education expert Dr. Teresa Belton says parents should let their kids get bored because it can help develop their imagination.

Belton told the BBC that in modern society we seem to think children should be active all the time because boredom can be "an uncomfortable feeling."

But she said that can also affect our natural ability to be creative.

"When children have nothing to do now, they immediately switch on the TV, the computer, the phone or some kind of screen. The time they spend on these things has increased," she said.

"But children need to have stand-and-stare time, time imagining and pursuing their own thinking processes or assimilating their experiences through play or just observing the world around them."

"For the sake of creativity perhaps we need to slow down and stay offline from time to time," she said.

Belton studies the impact of emotions on behaviour and learning, as an academic at University of East Anglia in the U.K.

As the BBC says, she's "interviewed a number of authors, artists and scientists in her exploration of the effects of boredom."

For example, after speaking with British author Meera Syal, Belton said...

"Lack of things to do spurred her to talk to people she would not otherwise have engaged with and to try activities she would not, under other circumstances, have experienced, such as talking to elderly neighbours and learning to bake cakes."

"Boredom is often associated with solitude and Syal spent hours of her early life staring out of the window across fields and woods, watching the changing weather and seasons," said Belton.

"But importantly, boredom made her write. She kept a diary from a young age, filling it with observations, short stories, poems, and diatribe. And she attributes these early beginnings to becoming a writer late in life."

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