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Boredom is not a negative emotion

A little boredom is actually good for a child's brain. When our kids get bored we often get into an overdrive trying to figure ways to engage their minds. But being bored once in a while is actually good for a child’s brain according to Joe Austerman, D.O., a child psychiatrist at Cleveland Clinic Children’s.“Building times where your child is bored is an okay thing and it gives them space to be creative, learn new skills, learn different ideas – and that helps their mind develop and grow,” he said.

We aren't talking about constant boredom, but it seems being bored once in a while gives the brain a break.

Most kids are so hooked on to their devices these days that any space without the devices is equivalent to boredom. However, when we take away the devices we create a space for boredom and eventually for creativity.

Watch this small video by Dr. Joe Austerman as to how this unplugging can actually help the brain.

Dr. Austerman said devices, schedules and activities keep children busy, but it’s okay to slow down while for some unstructured time to randomly think and be creative.

Research shows boredom encourages people to seek new goals and experiences.

Dr. Austerman advises parents who are looking to limit screen time to make sure children aren’t replacing one screen with another – for example turning off the cell phone and watching television instead.

Setting screen time limits often results in push-back from children, and while it may be tempting to jump in and entertain a whining child, Dr. Austerman said it’s best to weather the storm and ride it out.

“When kids are screaming ‘I’m bored!’; ‘I have nothing to do!’ Great – it’s not your job to solve that,” he said. “It’s actually better if the child solves that for themselves. What I typically find, is after a half hour, if you’ve limited screen time, kids tend to come up with other things to do.”

Dr. Austerman said the first step to limiting a child’s screen time is for parents to model appropriate behavior themselves. He recommends parents set a good example by unplugging as well, especially when engaging in family activities and at the dinner table.

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