How to Respond to Your Kid When They Tell You They’re Bored
Your first instinct might be to raise your voice and gesture wildly at the ridiculous number of toys cluttering your home for the sole purpose of entertaining your kid. (We get it.) However, the expert says exasperation isn’t the best way to react to a child who’s saying “I’m bored” on repeat. Instead, stay neutral and try to validate your child’s feeling without communicating that there’s anything particularly exceptional about it. And here’s the important part—don’t try to fix it. That’s right: Don’t pick up the phone and schedule an impromptu play date, don’t take them to the dollar store for a new toy, don’t even suggest at-home activities that are readily available to them (they’ll just pooh pooh them anyway).
Dr. Siggie suggests a refreshingly simple script: When your child tells you they’re bored, just say, “I know”; and when they say it once more with feeling, because they will, reply with, “I know you’re bored, and you think I can fix it…but you can fix it.” Short, sweet and—once your kid gets the memo—empowering.
If your kid is used to having you provide on-demand entertainment, this new approach might require some commitment on your part—namely because self-reliance doesn’t happen overnight; nevertheless, it’s a tremendously important life skill to encourage. Just stick to the script, stay the course and “let your kid be bored,” says Dr. Siggie. By doing so, your child will have no choice but to show some initiative—and you might be pleasantly surprised to see just how creative and resourceful your kid can be.