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By Amy Cushner

Shelton Associate Head of School

Summer is the season of many adventures and much advice on keeping kids busy to avoid boredom and survive summer. However, for the next two minutes, I’d like you to be bored with me. Be bored: think, stare, huff and puff. Within those two minutes, you may find yourself restless, thinking, ruminating and problem solving about how to end the boredom. Hooray! You’re bored!

Boredom is a gift.

Boredom is a gift rarely given to children. Boredom is empowering! It allows children to persevere through nothingness to get to somethingness. (Very Seussical!) Invention rises out of moments of transition and inaction. Sculptor Anish Kapoor says, “I've learned over the years… that it’s precisely in those moments when I don’t know what to do, boredom drives one to try.”

How to be bored?

  • Model boredom: Show kids that it's okay to be bored sometimes. Engage in quiet activities yourself, like reading, drawing, or simply sitting and thinking, to demonstrate that boredom can be a natural and positive part of life.
  • Schedule downtime: This can be a period after school or on weekends where children can relax and find their own ways to stay entertained (sans technology!)
  • Go on a walk: Walking encourages activity without intended result. The slower pacing allows new thoughts to creep in, nature to be noticed and considered, or a problem to be solved.
  • Create a "Boredom Space": Designate a space in your home where kids can go when they feel bored. Stock it with open-ended toys, art supplies and books to inspire creativity and independent play.

It takes two to make a thing go right!

Both structure and boredom are equally important. Benjamin Franklin, who was a gifted inventor, published his schedule that included both focused work and time to “Put things in their places, supper, music or diversion, conversation, examination of the day.” With a little of both, a survivable summer awaits with a little added sprinkle of invention.

“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!" 

— Dr. Seuss

Amy Cushner is Associate Head of Shelton School, Early Childhood-Sixth Grades at the Shelton School in Dallas, Texas. She holds an M. Ed., is a CALT, Qualified Instructor in MSLE programs for written language disorders and is Montessori certified, Elementary 1. Most important to Amy, she has 30 years of joyful experience in working with children with learning differences and their families.