Kids Talk: Find Out How They Really Feel About Boredom

Amanda Bindel, Toca Magazine Writer

As parents, we know how we feel when our kids say they’re bored. We have a range of responses to this complaint. And we know about the benefits a little boredom can offer kids.

But what does boredom really mean to kids? And what do they think parents should do about it? Toca Magazine asked some kids to share their thoughts about boredom. Here’s what they had to say:

What is boredom?

  • Archer, 4: It means I have nothing to do.
  • Elizabeth, 5: It means you want to play, but there’s nothing to do. I’m bored right now.
  • Sophi, 8: It’s pretty much like now … doing nothing. Sometimes, in school, after a test, we’re just supposed to read and I just don’t want to do that.
  • Jorge, 8: It means you have nothing to do. Or you can’t do what you want to do.
  • JD, 12: When there is nothing to do. Nothing engaging to do. Nothing fun to do.

It means you want to play, but there’s nothing to do. I’m bored right now.

How do you feel when you’re bored?

  • Archer, 4: When I’m bored, I feel upset.
  • Elizabeth, 5: Unhappy.
  • Sophi, 8: It feels kind of bad. It makes me feel tired.
  • Jorge, 8: Blah. Tired.
  • JD, 12: I feel kind of tired and grumpy. Kind of low.

When I’m bored, I feel upset.

What do you want to happen when you are bored?

  • Archer, 4: I want my parents to play with me.
  • Elizabeth, 5: I want to play with somebody!
  • Sophi, 8: I want to play games, like Minecraft or chess. Or play on a playground.
  • Jorge, 8: I want something to happen, like for my parents to take me somewhere.
  • JD, 12: I want something exciting and loud to happen.

I want something exciting and loud to happen.

Should parents do anything when you’re bored? If so, what?

  • Archer, 4: They should give me yummy snacks when I’m bored.
  • Elizabeth, 5: Yes, they should let me play on the iPad or go play with the neighbors.
  • Sophi, 8: I’d like if they played a game with me, but I don’t really expect them to. They are usually doing something.
  • Jorge, 8: Yeah, they should take me somewhere. But that’s not what happens. (Jorge’s older sister, 11, chimes in: “You should find a way to keep yourself company, find something to do by yourself.”)
  • JD, 12: No.

They should give me yummy snacks when I’m bored.

Turns out, boredom isn’t so much not having anything to do as it is not getting to do what they want to do. And while younger kids may be looking for some parental guidance, older kids totally get that they have the power when it comes to boredom.


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