I know, I know. If you’re anything like me, then you probably feel that there are few things worse than a bored toddler. Whenever my toddler is bored, he gets grumpy, whiny, and clingy. And as an introverted mom, that can be pretty wearing for me.
It really comes as no surprise that the vast majority of us don’t want our kids to be bored. And not just because it’s wearing for us as parents. If we’re all being honest, we all want our kids to be happy. And when their bored, they’re not particularly happy little campers.
However, despite our inclination to turn on the TV, come up with more things to do, and constantly entertain our kids, it’s actually super beneficial for your toddler to be bored at times. I’m not saying you have to let them be bored constantly.
But next time your toddler is bored, take a minute to pause before looking for ways to entertain them. The benefits of letting your child be bored for a bit will probably surprise you!
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My Toddler Is Bored…Now What?
So your child has come to you once again complaining of being bored. Despite the abundant toys they have, despite the one-on-one time they’ve already gotten from you, despite all the reasons they have to not be bored.
Now what? I think it’s safe to say that for most of us, our go to answer for this problem is to either let them have screen time, or exhaust ourselves by trying to keep them constantly entertained.
But did you know that there actually very good reasons to allow your toddler to be bored? Yes, it may be hard on you. I know for my two year old, his go to answer to being bored is to become super clingy. But the truth is that none of us can entertain our kids constantly. And trying to is not beneficial to them or to us!
5 Reasons Being Bored Is Good For Your Toddler
I’m sure that there’s more than five reasons to allow your child to be bored, but for this post we’re going to go over just five reasons. It may be hard at first, especially with young toddlers, but the outcome will be extremely good for you and your child.
Did you know that being bored actually encourages your child to learn? When kids have the opportunity to sit around bored, it stimulates their mind to wonder about things. Pretty soon, that idle wondering leads to exploring and experimenting to figure things out.
For toddlers, this can be extremely beneficial. Boredom can lead them to explore the world around them and experiment with things they may not have noticed otherwise.
Right along with learning and exploration, boredom leads toddlers to use their imaginations. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve caught Elijah acting out silly things when he was bored. Toddlers need periods of quiet and boredom in order for their imaginations to grow.
The quiet of being bored is the perfect environment for a toddler’s imagination to grow and develop. Don’t be afraid to allow your toddler to fall into boredom so that their imaginations can ignite.
Did you know that boredom also gets creative juices flowing, too? Periods of boredom are the perfect time for a toddler’s creativity to come out.
Some of the most creative people were people who weren’t constantly entertained, but rather had times of boredom. If you ever feel that your child isn’t very creative, try creating environments and times where they have the opportunity to become bored. Then watch as their creativity grows.
Encourages Independent Play
Teaching independent play is something I think so many of us struggle with as moms. We tend to fall into this line of thinking that we have to constantly play and entertain our children–especially if we are stay at home moms. But the truth is, that’s not realistic or practical. And actually, it’s not real beneficial to be your child’s constant playmate.
Hear me out. I absolutely think you should play with your child. I think you should make a point every day of spending on-on-one time with your kids. That parent and child time is very important. But, I think it’s also important for kids to learn to play independently.
Ultimately, I think if you try to constantly entertain your kids you will quickly find yourself burnt out. It’s a lot of work to keep the house in order and raise kids, and it’s just not possible to do everything 100% of the time. Independent play allows you the time you need to get other things done, and time to recharge and take care of yourself.
All that to say, allow your child to be bored. Allow them the valuable time to learn to independent skills.
I think most moms know that babies can get overstimulated. And of course, we know that there’s a difference in how extroverts and introverts decompress and re-energize. But I think a lot of times we forget about all that during the toddler phase, for whatever reason.
But the truth is that toddlers need time to decompress as well. And times of boredom allows them that valuable decompression time. And teaches them that decompression time is okay!
What To Do With Your Bored Toddler
Of course, I know that it can be hard to just let your toddler be bored cold turkey. Maybe you’re wondering what to tell them when they come to you complaining of boredom. It’s okay–you don’t have to tell them to “go be bored, it’s good for you.”
The following are some simple suggestions you can give your toddler the next time they claim boredom. All these suggestions are ones that can be easily done independently. Consider them as gentle proddings to help encourage your toddler to turn their boredom into a time of constructive learning.
Coloring with crayons and a coloring book is a great quiet activity for bored toddlers. It encourages learning and creativity, and makes for a great independent play activity.
While some activity packs require some adult help, you may find that some are also good for independent or semi independent play.
When your toddler is bored, encouraging him to play with educational toys is a great way to help him constructively use that time. Be sure to have some no screen toys available for your toddler!
Reading/Looking At Books
Even if your toddler can’t read yet, just looking at the pictures in books is a great learning experience. And a fantastic cure for boredom! Encourage your bored toddler to look at their books and let their imaginations go wild.
Need some book recommendations for toddlers? Check out this post!
Independent Play With Toys
Again, I believe that independent play is a crucial skills for kids to learn. And that starts at the toddler age. Learning to play independently can lead to all kinds of creative and imaginative learning opportunities.
If your child tends to get bored quickly with his toys, try starting up a toy rotation to keep things interesting.
Next time your toddler complains of boredom, try offering a chore for them to do. You’ll probably be surprised at how many times they’ll take you up on it! Toddlers love to help, and doing simple chores is a great learning opportunity for them.
Think of chores such as putting toys or other objects away, making their bed, putting their clothes away, helping switch the laundry, or sweeping. It may not be perfect, but many toddlers will have fun and you’ll be teaching them valuable skills.
Much like books, puzzles are a great way to get toddlers using their brains to think through things. Puzzles promote problem solving, and a great learning toy to boost development.
I know it can be hard to let your toddler be bored. I honestly do. But really, we shouldn’t feel guilty for allowing our children to have periods of boredom. It’s totally okay to be bored–beneficial even!
Do you struggle to let your toddler be bored? What types of things do you suggest to them when they say they are bored? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!