It’s inevitable. Your kids are going to be bored at some point this summer. But that may be a good thing. In this video, Dr. Josh Straub gives three valuable tips for making the most of your kids’ time this summer and investing in their creativity and imagination.
Check out more from Josh on this topic in his other Lifeway Voices post: 5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Family’s Summer
The entire video is above, and the complete transcript is below.
Summertime is here and one of the biggest questions we receive is, what do I do with my kids during the summer? Because they’re constantly saying, “Mom or Dad, I’m bored. I need something to do.”
Here’s the reality. Research shows that allowing your children to be bored is actually one of the smartest things that you can do for your kids. Why? Because it increases creativity and imagination.
There was a research study done where they put people in a room with nothing but their thoughts. And they were just sitting in their room and they couldn’t have a phone or a book or anything. They just sat there. And the only way they could get out was to electrocute themself, to give themself an electrical shock.
Do you know the average amount of time that it took til someone decided that they were going to electrocute themselves to get out? Six minutes.
We can’t sit very long today without picking up a phone or figuring out, finding something to do with our idle time. But research shows that it takes at least 15 to 20 minutes of boredom for creativity and imagination to kick in.
I think that’s why tech giants, such as Steve Jobs and Bill Gates as well as executives at Google, Yahoo, Apple, and HP, all protected their kids. Steve Jobs didn’t allow his kids to use an iPad. Bill Gates only allowed his daughters on the internet for 45 minutes a day and they weren’t allowed to have a cellphone until they turned 13 and even when they did, they were only allowed to use it as a phone.
I think the reason that these guys are protecting their children is because they understand that creativity and imagination is what really, ultimately comes from being bored. And that when we fill our minds with screens, it just fills our minds with screens. It wires our brains for screens rather than relationships.
So this summer, I really want to encourage you. Set limits on screens. Make it the exception, not the rule to have screens. Allow them to earn it through activities, chores, good behavior, that type of thing.
Also, you set limits on the screen this summer. Allow yourself the opportunity to maybe not use your screen, your phone, for the first hour when you wake up and the last hour before you go to bed. Show your kids that you’re setting the limits on screens as well.
And then, get outside as a family. Be bored together so that creativity and imagination can grow in the lives of your kids. Set play dates with your kids. Allow other kids to come over where they have dance parties, where you create opportunities for them to be able to relate and play at the creek, or to go fishing, or to do activities outside that get them to be creativity and imaginative. Look at the stars as a family. Go camping. Plan a camping trip, even if you do it in your backyard. Play board games together.
Find ways to teach your kids to play independently, where they can play alone, where they can learn to do things together. Legos are a great opportunity to be able to do that. Allow them free time in their room where they have a project that they have to build something out of Legos. Or they have to draw something with art. Or you’re giving them crafts and they have to figure out ways to build something creative and tell a story about it.
Do what you can to set limits and allow them to be creative and to build relationships. Set limits on screens, allow them to be bored so that they can increase their creativity and imagination, and then also give them opportunities for relationships. Because as I mentioned before, when you wire a child’s brain for screens, it becomes wired for screens. When you wire it for relationships, it becomes wired for relationships.