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Bored Isn’t Always Bad

My children know better than to tell me they are bored because I usually hand them a toilet scrubber for a super quick and effective boredom buster.

So, recently, after staring at her shoelaces for the better part of a day, my 9 year old asked me where the shovel was. I eyeballed her suspiciously and said “Why?” and she asked me if I thought it would be okay if she dug a pond down at the hen house so the ducks would have a place to swim around.

I thought about it for a few seconds and, since Mr. Smockity is out of town, said, “What do you think Daddy would say?” She said she thought he wouldn’t care, so I said, “Go for it!”

After all, we had been wishing we could buy one of those little wading pools for the ducks, and I even thought I might come across someone wanting to get rid of one, but that never happened.

I figured she couldn’t do much harm. What was the worst that could happen? She would probably go down there for a little while and be back after hollowing out a shallow puddle for them.

But, she had something else in mind.

Before I knew it, there was an entire work crew of Smockities down there and it became a 2 day project.

Now the ducks have a nice place to swim, and everyone who pitched in has a wonderful feeling of accomplishment!

If I hadn’t allowed her to be bored, I doubt she would have ever come up with the idea for this project. If she had a schedule filled with back to back activities she would have never had the time to discover how to keep water contained with sticks and mud.

I guess bored isn’t always bad.

How do you handle kids being bored?

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Comments

  1. Wonderful! I love how they are not ‘allowed’ to be bored, and I *love* what she did – all from her own thinking too. I bet these ducks are glad your kids don’t get ‘bored’ enough to watch TV…. I bet they’re *really* glad :)

  2. I agree with HomeschoolontheCroft, imagination is a wonderful thing and the ducks are probably happy as can be.

  3. This is great! I only have a 17 month old, so we haven’t experienced the “bored” thing yet. I love how you don’t allow them to be bored; I will definitely keep that in mind as I have kids that get older.

  4. Yeah, bored kids get handed brooms and stuff around here, too. And mom says real sympathetic things like, “That’s OK. You’re allowed to be bored.” They come up with all sorts of projects, though, from building forts to elaborate play sets out of cardboard.

  5. I love this story! It’s a perfect example of allowing imagination to run wild. Thanks for sharing, and including the photos.

  6. Mary Mac says:

    I love it! That is just so awesome. What a great engineer she is!
    When you said you were hoping someone would have one of those little pools they didn’t want anymore it made me think of a website called Freecycle.com. I don’t know if you would have it in your area or not but you should most definetly sign up for it if you do! It is great! You can even post what you are looking for. Within reason, ofcourse. :)
    Ive seen building materials, clothes, pet type of supplies, household goods and tons more listed! And it is all for free. It was created to keep stuff out of the landfills. Stuff that could still be used by someone else. Its a good thing!

  7. Heather Mason says:

    That’s a really great story, Connie. I have 9 children, and they do find the neatest things to do. They’ll usually ask for computer time when they’re bored, but I usually say no, and they find something more constructive to do. I agree that being bored is a good thing!

  8. Recently found out my children did not know what bored meant. They would periodically come out and announce they didn’t know what to do and ask a crazy question like can I play on the computer. To which I would say no and then provide all sorts of lovely things they could do….pull weeds in the garden, wash walls, etc…. Then they miraculously found something to do…play in dirt making “cakes & cookies”, read to the twins, hammer stuff and make a “theatre” then put on a play etc… I think computers & TV’s suck the creativity out of a kid :)
    BTW….We got our duck wading pool by driving around during big trash day (not that you need one now that you have a truly excellent pond dug out). We dug a hole in the yard and stuck the pool into the hole filled in as much dirt as possible and put a ramp in it so they could get out easily.

  9. It must be a mom thing, Connie. Everyone of our kids knows the danger of uttering the words, “I’m bored” — in fact, I have an ongoing list of extra jobs for when they’re needed for various discipline, boredom reasons. :)

    On the other side, I do feel that boredom in childhood is important. I don’t feel it’s necessary to “find things for them to do” — their creativity and imagination really grows when they have the opportunity and time to think up things on their own. I agree with Heather Mason above – boredom is a good thing!

  10. I was going to write a blog post on this topic. Around here, Bored is a swear word! The oldest knows better than to ever utter it, but the younger ones sometimes still do. They are immediately assigned a chore. Often, depending on how often I’m hearing the B word, they also get a mini lecture. It goes something like this:

    “Wow, aren’t you LUCKY! You need to say a prayer right NOW and thank God that you live in a place and time where you are so blessed that you can be bored. Because right now all over the world, and through most of history, children spend HOURS a day just gathering firewood and clean water for their families. You have it so EASY that you have TIME to be bored!”

    Then they are told to grab a chore from the chore jar (a jar with slips of paper on it in the kitchen, good for these and other discipline opportunities).

  11. Love it! My mother treated “bored” and “boring” as foul language, and we weren’t allowed to say them. I’ve done the same with my kids, and it works!

  12. Love it! You’re absolutely right — packed schedules kill creativity. What a wonderful duck pond your little Smockities created. Great job to all!

  13. I love this, Connie! They did such a great job. And, do you what I love? Those are the kinds of things that become memories. Can’t you just imagine them thirty years from now, “Hey — remember that time we dug a pond of the ducks?” :) That’s just great.

  14. Love it !! My kids know better than to tell me they are bored, too. I always have a “project” ready for them – cleaning, extra schoolwork, etc. Needless to say, I don’t hear “Mom, I’m bored” very often anymore :-)

  15. My mom always said “only boring people are bored. . .”

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  1. [...] and give them fresh water and food. While I was down there, I gathered eggs and noticed that the kid-built duck pond was low, so I filled it up with [...]

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