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How To Respond When You’re Kids Say “I’m Bored” 

“Mom, I’m so bored”. You’ve probably heard this phrase quite a few times if you have kids who are toddler-age or older. Maybe even a few times a day! 

It can be a big burden and weight to feel like you are the constant entertainment for your young children.

Of course, we want to love them, spend time with them, and play with them as much as possible. But, when it is all day every day, it can become tiresome pretty fast. We also have laundry to fold, meals to cook, carpools to drive, and side jobs to work on, not to mention other children who need our time and attention too! 

So what’s the magic remedy to the common phrase, “mom, I’m so bored” that we are tired of hearing? Let’s dive into the Art of Boredom! 


Why is Boredom Important? 

It seems counterintuitive that boredom benefits kids, but trust me, it actually does. In a world that is so technologically driven and we are always “go go go” it can be hard to sit still and simply be present with our thoughts. 

Think about it. When have you come up with your best ideas? Usually when you’re quiet and taking time to ponder, right? This is technically what “bored” is to kids… sitting quietly with nothing to “do”. 

Kids are similar. If they have time to sit quietly with time to “ponder”, they can come up with some fascinating ideas! 

What Boredom Can Do For Kids (and frankly adults too): 

  1. Boredom fosters creativity 

We are all born with some form of creative spirit. Sadly, that creativity slowly starts to fade away the older we get. We are “told” what to do– in school, by peers, even by parents, in the workplace, etc. 

When kids are given a minute to think and process (in what they call “being bored”) they are able to come up with their own creative ideas for something to do. You will find that 99/100 times they are using their imagination for things much better than anything you could have suggested. 

  1. Boredom gives way for problem-solving 

We want our kids to be thinkers, right? We want them to solve the problems on the playground, face delay and opposition with courage, and be intuitive hard-working citizens one day. 

Well, all these skills don’t just magically appear. Do you want to know one of the best ways to help your child become a great “problem-solver”? 

Yep. You guessed it! Boredom. Allow them to have those down moments so that they can solve the problem of figuring out what to do next. 

They will thank you for it later when they can solve all the world’s problems! 

  1. Boredom helps with organization skills 

How in the world, might you ask, does boredom help kids to be more organized?! I’m glad you asked! 

If you have a certain time period every day that is “scheduled boredom” (like an afternoon quiet time or before bed wind-down) your child will learn the principle of organization. 

They know their time to be independent is coming, so they subconsciously start planning what they want to do with their time. 

Then when it comes they will go through each of the activities they have in an organized manner. 

Kids thrive when there is routine and organization throughout the home as well as in their schedule. 

You’ll be surprised that “offering” them a little bit of “boredom” will only enhance their personal organization skills! 

You might even find them organizing their own clothes one day when they weren’t even asked (what my 5-year-old did recently). 

  1. Boredom leads to greater awareness 

When kids can get off the “go go go train” they start to learn that there is time in life just to sit. There is time to observe. To listen. To breathe. To be aware of the world around them. 

They become aware of their own emotions and can process them more efficiently. 

They are aware of other people’s feelings as they watch what others are doing. 

An awareness of nature and God’s creations becomes an integral part of who they are. 

How to Respond to “Mom, I’m so Bored” 

So, what happens when you know all of these great things about boredom, but your child still comes to you saying, “mom, I’m bored”. 

Let’s dive into some ideas! 

  1. Give them 5 minutes. Sometimes when they say “I am bored” it really means, “Mom, I feel like you aren’t paying attention to me. Will you please play with me”. 

This could be done by snuggling, reading a short book, talking to them about absolutely anything, or playing their favorite game. 

  1. Ask them about what they have been doing. Get excited about whatever it is they say offering your approval. 

As they are talking, they might think of another good idea to do something else. Remember, creativity at such a young age sometimes needs a little bit of prompting. Your simple nods, “uh huhs”, or “wow, really?” will give them the boost they need to realize they like being creative! 

  1. Ask if they want to do a job around the house! 

Sometimes they’ll say “no” and roll their eyes. But othertimes, they’ll surprise you. Kids like to feel needed and love learning to work hard especially right alongside you. 

So use this to your advantage! 

Responses could include: 

“Oh perfect! I have a basket of laundry I was hoping we could fold together while we listen to an audio book” 

“Bored? I was thinking we could go wipe all the mirrors in the house while we dance to our favorite music” 

“I have a great idea! Do you want to be a chef? Let’s make dinner together!” 

They will love feeling like they can do grown-up tasks in such a fun way! 

  1. Get them moving! I feel bored when I have been sitting for a while and I’m sure kids do too. 

Tell them to do their favorite trick for you on the trampoline, show them their “Lightning Mcqueen skills” by running around the yard 5 times, or turn on music and have a dance party. 

As you begin to boost their confidence in creativity, over time, the number of times you hear the phrase “i’m bored” will start to decrease. 

Creating an Environment for Boredom Busters 

Make sure your home is “boredom friendly” by following these simple steps! 

  1. Make activities easily accessible 

If they aren’t out in plain sight, at least make sure they are at a reachable level in the closet so you can prompt them to go get it all by themselves. 

  1. Have a “boredom buster” jar 

This can be a small mason jar with popsicle sticks. Write different ideas on the sticks for what your kids can do when they are bored. Then when they come asking you what to do because they are “bored”, you can guide them to the jar. 

Ideas for the jar: 

-Make cookies

-do a craft for your best friend

-do a secret service for someone in your family 


-draw a picture for dad 

-jump on the trampoline 

-listen to an audio book 

-do a puppet show 

-Play pretend grocery store 

-play bowling with paper towel rolls and a baseball or tennis ball 

-unload the dishwasher 

-magic erase the walls (I don’t know about you, but my kids love magic erasers! Sometimes they will color on things JUST so they can magic erase it!) 

-Make a kite then fly it (or save it for a windy day) 

-Make paper airplanes (one for mom too. Then have an airplane competition) 

-write your own book then tie it all together (or staple it) 

  1. Have a craft closet 

Create a closet in your home that has all supplies that your child would need to be creative with art. 

Include kid scissors, paper (white and construction), glue (sticks and elmer’s), googly eyes, yarn, pipe cleaners, brown paper bags, tape, paint, markers, crayons, stapler, hole punch, etc. 

Make sure they help to clean it all up when they are done. Remind them that it will be more fun next time to get things out if it is organized and back to how they found it. 

It can make for quite the long day to constantly be hearing “mom, I’m so bored” over and over and over again. 

It can be especially tricky when you actually need to get something done that day and can’t spend all day playing! 

We hope these ideas will help alleviate your “mom guilt” to realize that boredom is actually good for kids! And hopefully, these ideas will show your kids that they can be creative and have fun on their own!