“Muuuuum… Daaaaad… I’m BORED!”
If this is a cry you dread hearing, then you’re in the right place.
Children get bored easily and need lots of stimulation.
It can feel really challenging to keep kids entertained, especially if you have other commitments.
You might be tempted to simply sit them in front of the TV, but that won’t help in the long term.
Your child can learn to entertain themselves, with a little help from you.
Following the steps below will make your child much less likely to complain of boredom – giving you some much needed peace and quiet.
Work out when your child is likely to get bored
Is there a particular time or place your child often complains of being bored?
Perhaps it’s during long car journeys, or while visiting elderly relatives.
Identify the situation and start thinking about how it could be improved.
For example, you could try to avoid rush hour when travelling with your child, to keep the journey as short as possible.
If there’s no way to avoid the situation, try to plan activities that will keep your child occupied.
For example, if they’re always bored at grandma’s house, why not keep a few games or toys in a cupboard there? If it’s the car that’s the problem, plan some travel games, like ‘I Spy,’ and ’20 Questions’.
Being prepared is the first step towards beating boredom.
Make your child’s daily routine more fun
If boredom seems to be a routine for your child, rather than a one-off event, you should look at ways to make their daily activities more interesting.
Here are some examples that will make your child’s morning routine a lot more fun:
- Time how quickly they can get up and dressed in the morning – make it a competition.
- Put on music and dance while completing chores.
- Play underwater-themed pretend games in the bath.
- Give them lots of choices – like what to wear and what to eat for breakfast.
Try to make things into a game wherever possible – you’ll find that your child is much more engaged and co-operative.
Break homework/chores into small chunks
If there are things your child really doesn’t enjoy but still has to do, try breaking them into small chunks.
Promise your child a reward and a break at the end of each section – don’t just force them to work for hours on end.
You could create a chart with planned rewards, which might look something like this.
One chore completed: a packet of sweets.
Three chores completed: a trip to the park.
Five chores completed: an hour playing their favourite game.
Kids will be much more motivated when they have something to look forward to, and breaking tasks into pieces makes them feel less overwhelming.
Write a list of boredom beating activities
When your child is bored, it’s important that they learn to deal with it on their own.
After all, you won’t always be there to entertain them, and learning how to use their time is a valuable life skill. 
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t help out with ideas.
Sit down together and write a big list of boredom-beating activities, then put them in a jar or box and tell you child to pull one out each time they feel bored.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Draw a picture
- Play in the garden
- Write a story
- Blow bubbles
- Play catch
- Do a jigsaw
- Build an obstacle course
- Make up a dance
- Sing a song
Items like board games, toys, and play equipment can be kept a special ‘boredom box’ which your child can go to whenever they’re at a loose end.
Add new activities regularly to keep things fresh and interesting.
Ensure your child’s boredom isn’t due to depression
Boredom is generally harmless, but it can sometimes be a symptom of depression.
But how do you tell the two apart?
A child who’s bored will usually be excited to take part in a new activity or game, and will soon be back to their usual self.
On the other hand, a child who’s depressed may be uninterested, even in things they usually like.  They might continue to appear bored even while engaged in an activity.
If you’re worried about how often your child is getting bored, speak to a medical professional for help and advice.