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I used to feel pressure to keep my kids entertained – now I think boredom is good for them


Sarah's son, Theo, doing arts and crafts

The idea of my children being bored was my biggest nightmare (Picture: Sarah Whiteley)

When I read that Eva Mendes was bringing back boredom for her children this summer, I could’ve jumped for joy. 

Because in just a few words, she confirmed what I’ve recently discovered.

‘I really feel like when we’re bored – not stimulated by a phone or an iPad or computer or television – that’s when ideas come in,’ she said, explaining that while her family had spent a few months in London while her oh-so-dreamy hubby Ryan Gosling was filming there recently, she took her children on a ‘ton of field trips’ but now they’re home, she’s decided they won’t be doing as much.

Until recently, the idea of my children being bored was my biggest nightmare – mostly, I think, because of lockdown.

Theo was two and a half when the pandemic struck and Immy was just five months. 

Stuck in a flat with no outside space, I was determined that we’d do something new every day. You know, other than just watching films.

Not naturally gifted at arts and crafts, I searched YouTube and Pinterest for ideas and then battled on, making Elmer the Elephants out of empty milk bottles and Paddington Bears out of used toilet rolls. I cut out ladybirds to help with Theo’s counting and we baked endlessly.

Oh, and the tuff trays – a plastic slab suited for playing on with messy materials like sand and paint. A friend recommended getting one in those early weeks, and so we dutifully did. Anything to make those days go by quicker, I figured.

Every night, I’d set up a different elaborate scene on the trays, based on the books we were reading or the films I’d inevitably cave into. The Snail and the Whale was one of my favourites – that and The Jungle Book.

I’d set out the whale and the sharks for The Snail and the Whale’s scene, and it didn’t matter how much mess was made.

I was determined that we’d do something new every day (Picture: Sarah Whiteley)

I thought if we had something set up to play with first thing in the morning, it would set us off to a good start.

Instead, Theo would usually give it nothing more than a casual look and step around it.

As they were too young to concentrate on anything by themselves, it was unbelievably hard, being the children’s sole source of entertainment — far more exhausting that I’d ever realised it could be.

As soon as we were allowed, we went out. We took the children to the London Aquarium and the Tower of London, booking the earliest slots and relishing in the extra space because of the limited numbers.

Since then, whenever I thought about a day indoors, it genuinely filled me with dread. Even when we moved to a house and had the extra space, the idea of spending so many hours …read more

Source:: Metro

      

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