What parent hasn't heard this utterance from their child. "I'm booooooorrrrred!" It comes out as a whine, a complaint, a plea, a demand and you feel the need to entertain, amuse, or give in just to make it stop.
Well, I am here to tell you that boredom is good. Boredom is space. Space that can be filled by entertaining the child or by giving him or her the opportunity to create something new. I read on Facebook that Shakespeare wrote King Lear during the plague while he was isolated at home. Now he did not have TVs, computers, electronics, and easy access to mindless activities. Will S. put his boredom to good use. He wrote a brilliant play.
Now I don't expect that your 8 year old will write King Lear, but why not give her a chance, the space, and the time to create her own brilliant masterpiece?
This is a challenging time and we all have the need to find things to occupy our time at home. My favorite memories of childhood include building a fort by turning the furniture over, covering it with blankets, and crawling in with a flashlight and a book. I recall my 3 year old brother pulling all the pots and pans out of my grandmother's cabinets and playing the drums with a wooden spoon. My sisters and I would take old magazines and make collages. I would close the door to my bedroom and belt out broadway show tunes. I would draw, write, paint, build things out of old cardboard boxes.
As a teacher I love to create games for students to use that reinforce learning. I think my love of doing this comes from my parent's letting me find my own pursuits when boredom set in. We find our talents in the moments we are bored. Art, music, game, literature, writing, designing, building, engineering, cooking, let your child try out the ones that call to her.
So next time the words "I'm bored" send chills down your spine, respond by giving them space and time, no direction, access to everyday stuff, and let them create their own masterpiece.