by Josh Richardson
Are children scheduled to the max these days? Are there any waking moments that give children the freedom to express themselves in unstructured environments? Children should be allowed to get bored so they can develop their innate ability to be creative, an education expert says.
Deschoolers maintain that a child’s learning should be curiosity-driven rather than dictated by teachers and textbooks, and that forcing kids to adhere to curricula quashes their natural inclination to explore and ask questions because childrne think differently.
Dr Teresa Belton says cultural expectations that children should be constantly active could hamper the development of their imagination.
The senior researcher at the University of East Anglia’s School of Education and Lifelong Learning interviewed a number of authors, artists and scientists in her exploration of the effects of boredom.
There are activities and summer camps galore to fill children’s time and supply much needed childcare when kids are out of school. But psychologists and child development experts suggest that over-scheduling children during the summer is unnecessary and could ultimately keep kids from from discovering what truly interests them.
We tend to listen to the social mechanisms and drug children to make them more alert, somehow, believing that boredom is internal wronging of chemistry; some cerebral misstep that is somehow affecting the masses. But it’s not that at all. The real reason is why millions upon millions of kids love fantasy is because it instills the heroe mindset not cowards and infantilized beings; initiates co-creative magicians suffuse with wonder, not glazed-over, programmed subjects.
“Your role as a parent is to prepare children to take their place in society. Being an adult means occupying yourself and filling up your leisure time in a way that will make you happy,” says Lyn Fry, a child psychologist in London with a focus on education. “If parents spend all their time filling up their child’s spare time, then the child’s never going to learn to do this for themselves.”
Fry is not the only one to point out the benefits of boredom. Dr. Belton, visiting fellow at the University of East Anglia with a focus on the connection between boredom and imagination, stated that boredom is crucial for developing “internal stimulus,” which then allows true creativity.
And though our capacity for boredom may well have diminished with all the attractions of the internet, experts have been discussing the importance of doing nothing for decades.
Dr 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.