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In today’s world, you may have noticed that there has been an increase in the level of boredom and distractedness in young children at school and in day care settings that provide an educational background. Occupational therapists have noticed this, along with seeing continued decline in children’s social, emotional and academic abilities, as well as an increase in mental disorders in preschool children. Diagnoses of common childhood disorders such as ADHD and ADD have increased considerably, but the question is what is causing all of this?
Causes of Boredom
Boredom cannot come from one cause, but it can be seen rather as an accumulation of many influences. Factors such as the child’s personality, his/her life experiences and societal influences of the new fast-paced life, instant gratification and the ever-increasing technology! Some children are naturally prone to falling into boredom, others not. But overall, boredom has seemed to increase in the classroom, mainly because the classroom no longer serves an exciting and overstimulating environment that technology provides instead.
Children are now growing up with endless entertainment from television programs, cell-phones and iPads. Computer games and Xboxes have become a popular past-time – and so children are constantly being overstimulated with exciting visual graphics, sounds and other stimuli that occupy their brains, providing them with something we call instant gratification.
Instant Gratification is the cause of many issues in children of today. It is the desire to get what they want, exactly when they want it- the desire to be instantly fulfilled without any delay, without having to do the hard work! Many parental figures often fall into the trap of using technology to satisfy their children’s needs for endless entertainment without delay. Because of this, children tend to struggle with more mundane tasks and have little patience – impacting on their school work. Technology also takes children away from exploring the world and socializing with people. Have you ever seen a family at a restaurant with the children’s eyes glued to an iPad, instead of conversing with their parents? They are missing out on social learning opportunities. There have been a few studies on children and technology that have noticed this pattern!
The Fast-Paced Life
We now live in a world where we don’t have to wait for anything! We get instantly fed at fast food restaurants, we can play on our cellphones while we sit in the car or wait for the bus. If you’re bored, you’re one click away from accessing the internet.
The problem with instant gratification is that even young children do not learn how to function under stress. When we do not get what we want, when we want it (which is usually now) we get stressed. To learn to wait and have delayed gratification means to learn to function under stress.
How Can Child Care Programs Reduce Boredom?
Child Care programs are designed to focus on fostering delayed gratification, remove the overstimulating technology, replacing what would be video games with a variety of stimulating and entertaining activities, paving the way for better learning later in life. Psychologists have noticed that young adults who have grown up with instant gratification, go off to work and end up quitting soon after being hired, as they have not learned how to work hard to earn money at the end of the pay cycle. Having a job and being paid in interims is delayed gratification. Children and young adults who fall into this trap are left with unattainable goals: wanting the job done without the effort and time put into it, often leaving them with the idea that they cannot do anything.
Some children want to be the best in the class without realizing that they need to work hard to get the results that they are looking for. We want what we want when we want it- which is always now, without hard work that comes in between.
Signs that your child may be bored:
- Have you noticed that your child struggles to pay attention in class, day care or at home when giving simple instructions?
- Your child may say things like: “This is boring” and “I don’t like this”
- Your child looks distracted most of the time and appears uninterested in what you have to say
- Your child tries to suggest something else to do when you try and instruct them, or find ways to avoid given chores
What Can I Do To Reduce My Child’s Boredom?
Children who receive instant gratification renders them unable to learn how to deal with minor stressors. If children spend most of their time indoors glued to a screen, they lose muscle tone, social skills and attention skills is the first step. All of these problems impact their academic performance in the classroom, to which they use the phrase: “I’m bored” without realizing that it can instead mean: “I can’t do this”, or “I don’t know how to do this”, to “I don’t want to do this”.
So, when your child says he/she is bored, it usually means that they are bored because the classroom is not as exciting as the iPad at home, or she he has not develop enough skills to complete a task at school. This leads to feeling inadequate or finding a task to be too difficult or boring to try. The given task at day care or school may also not be challenging enough. Its normal for children to be bored from time to time, but that should not affect their attention and academic performance. The brain is like a muscle in that it needs exercising, and children need to practice patience and hard work to exercise their working muscles to make their brains grow and let this muscle become stronger. It can be trained and retrained, so it’s never to late to start!
At Stone Brook Academy, we make learning fun. Learning through games and play develop important skills while keeping them attentive and willing to participate- eliminating boredom. Enroll today, and know that your child will be entertained and stimulated the right way.