Alphabetic Guide to Child Care - Boredom


Babies are usually too hungry or too sleepy—or too cranky—to be bored. Toddlers have so much to investigate around the house that boredom is not likely to be one of their problems. As a child gets older and complains about having nothing to do, you might get him involved in a household chore by saying, “Let's ...” rather than “Why don't you” or “How would you like to.” “Let's tidy the cans on the pantry shelf or “Let's make some cookies” can make a three-year-old feel useful and interested.

Rainy Days

If you're too busy for a cooperative effort and there's a long rainy day ahead, provide for it in advance by keeping a “boredom box” in the closet and renewing its contents from time to time: wrappings saved from gifts; bits of material; boxes of various sizes; discarded magazines to be cut up; old clothes for dress-up activities, and the like.

Coping with Boredom Can be Productive

A child who is never allowed to be bored because his parents or older siblings feel that they have to entertain him or play with him is deprived of the possibility of calling on his own resources and learning how to amuse himself. The fact that an only child may have to live through stretches of boredom often contributes to his exploring his own abilities in a creative way. Sometimes just asking a child to “Tell me a story” can work wonders. Some parents solve the recurrent problem of boredom by organizing informal play groups of three or four children; others find a nursery school the best solution.


An older child who is recovering from an illness that has kept him out of school and isolated him from his friends may require some special project to work on in addition to catching up on his homework. A period of protracted convalescence is a good time to introduce a new hobby or craft such as model-making or clay sculpture that may solve the boredom problem for years to come.

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