Your Child is Bored ... Celebrate!

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Jennifer of Post-Apocalyptic Homeschool just called me a fiend. She did. 

And she made my heart melt in the process. 

One of the nicest things anyone has called me. No, no, I am not joking here. 

I mean it. 

She sized me up. Let me quote:

You are a book-buying fiend, and I really like that about you. :)

Jennifer - I love that you said that!

It is important.

Jennifer left the comment on my site after reading my post about the most attractive collection of children's classics that I've been buying for our home library

Admittedly, I am a book-buying fiend and I am happy that my kids have a lot of children's books at home.

That also involves a lot of sacrifices, but I usually do not talk about that part.

Let me tell you why.

Being a parent is one scary job. It usually becomes scary after it becomes too late to mend the situation.

But if the job does not scare you a little in advance, it should. 

Lets be truthful, we all expect to achieve a 100% result.

And if we mess up, oooops ... we just destroyed someone's prospects in life.

Time On One's Hands

Boredom is rage spread thin. 
        Paul Tillich 

My main thought about parenting boils down to a simple dilemma.

What will my kids do when they are bored?

I saw that basic question as one of the principal challenges that awaits me.

It is a fork in the road.

Will my kids choose reading books or just TV?

Will they pursue arts or science or will playing cards every day make them happy?

Will they choose sports or lie around the house?

Will they think or will they do anything they can to avoid thinking about it?

We are talking about hours and hours and days and weeks and months of free time.


What will your kids do when they are bored?

Solve that now and you are one step ahead. We all also know one truth.

Let us just admit it here.

Kids read out of boredom. 

Try this: ask them do they want to go to Disneyland or read a book?

The response will be: "Do we go today or tomorrow?"

So, lets ride that boredom wave and leave books all around the house while stifling other electronic entertainment.

Don't buy that electronic toy, unplug the TV...

Make reading an activity that depends only on one effortless step.

Celebrate boredom!

As Bruce Allison advocates - let us rethink our approach so that we can even embrace boredom.

"When they say, 'I'm bored,' smile and respond, 'Yes, isn't it wonderful? I'm so happy for you."

"Nothing happens in this life unless someone is bored. There is no prayer without boredom, no art, no discovery, no seeking of what human beings are about in an ultimate way. Having nothing to do is the best freedom of all. Teach your children to value and appreciate that. Teach them to make spaces in their life for it. Let them hear the magic 'click' of the sound and picture devices being rendered inoperable. Help them to wait for the corresponding 'click' in their own minds."

I am ready for boredom in the life of my twins. It is already creeping in. 

I love boredom. 

I want my kids to embrace boredom, but with a book in each hand.

My kids now need only to extend their hand. And a book is already in it. 

To make reading more available, I decided to build a children's book collection at home.

Yet, please take note - we are not a rich family.

In fact, I work as a freelancer and my wife has a 9 to 5 job.

We live in an apartment. A regular family.

Public libraries are the icing on the cake - I love them. 

But I want my kids to fill even those small niches of available time, when they have just 5 or 25 minutes of free time.

They just need to extend their arm to get a book these days.

Remember the 10,000 hour rule that can make everyone a master in a discipline? Help your kid clock those hours.

Remember, if the book is not there, it is not there.

There is no other way about it.

Something else will take its place.


  1. Another great post, RAD! I have noticed that when I am waiting somewhere with my husband, he gets bored more easily than I do. I love to read, so as long as I have a book with me or a magazine nearby, I am good to go. I am hoping to pass that on to my boys. Thanks for the inspiration!!

  2. Hello,
    Oh I relate so much to your blog post today. Boredom is a welcome friend here and yes it does and can lead to many great reading moments, but more importantly I think it has empowered my children to "be the solution" to their boredom. Whenever I hear those little words "I'm bored", my response is always the same, "Something good and creative will come out of that no doubt."  A shelf, house, or garage filled with books is a wonderful place to start looking for an end to boredom. Happy Reading.

  3. Hi Valarie,

    Love your words - "Boredom is a welcome friend".

    And your response to your kids is so inspiring, that I might even steal it. 

    Let me try saying it: "Something good and creative will come out of that no doubt." 

    Ooooh! Cool! 

    Thanks for sharing the inspiration!

    Read Aloud Dad

    Re: @8fd9a972ba65a091a3c053f0b5271cf5 

  4. Sometimes I describe myself as a book whore. I can't resist buying an award winning children's book if it's discounted. It's a vice. I admit it!

  5. Welcome to the club PragmaticMom! (or is it the other way round?)

    Dare I contradict you this time? It is not a vice in my book. 

    Buying award winning children's books (!) at a discount (!) = it's a double virtue!

    Many adults buy children's books without caring if the books are really great or not. But it is important to seek out the best. 

    All children's books are not the same. Some are better than others. (George Orwell, anyone?)

    Read Aloud Dad

    Re: @2f04fd44b02f5004c4fadc411b33b1aa 

  6. Aww, thanks for the shoutout, and love this post. I feel the same way, and I often personally refer to the old saw: "Bored people are boring." :D

  7. Hi Jennifer, 

    It is you who gave me the inspiration with such a fine comment. Something just clicked in my head after I read it. 

    These are topics (book buying, availability of books in a home setting) that are really important. (I have even more ideas for a new post floating around in my head).  

    Thanks again!

    Read Aloud Dad

    Re: Jennifer Arrow 

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  9. I think that boredom can be good depending on a child's temperament. Mellow kids can find something to do with a little prodding. Strong willed kids can go either way. They might find something constructive on their own, or they might decide that "causing a ruckus" would be fun way to end boredom. Making sure there are lots of choices available seems to be helpful in our household.

  10. Hi @google-bc26dd6f766d661bf4b2c85180c182dc:disqus ,

    Indeed, you raise a great point!

    Boredom can affect different kids in different ways - and there is no universal recipe for tackling this "problem".

    I like your proposed solution - making sure that kids always have choices, choices, choices!

    Thanks so much!

    Read Aloud Dad

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