Curtis Roach’s “Bored in the House” (warning: explicit language and content) became an anthem and creative outlet for everyone at home during COVID-19. The line’s repetition reflected our monotony, as all over the world people sat stuck, staring at the same four walls.
Although our pocket rectangles contain more information and entertainment than we could process in thousands of lifetimes, this constant stimulation leaves us even more sensitive to boredom, when it rears its uninteresting head.
Wait, do we even have time to be bored?
It may seem crazy that anyone could be ever bored, given how utterly packed some of our family schedules are. But again, packing things full makes us used to constant activity and stimulation, making empty space all the more noticeable. An article from Brain Pickings points out, “Not many years ago, it was access to information and movement that seemed our greatest luxury; nowadays it’s often freedom from information, the chance to sit still, that feels like the ultimate prize.”
How to overcome the time-honored phrase: “I’m bored”
Try doing something without an end goal together! Encourage your teen to enjoy the moment, and to engage in something that might feel repetitive or pointless, but that actually gives them space to process, reflect, and wander imaginatively. The goal isn’t a particular result, which helps combat the mindset that their worth comes from what they do.
- Swing on a swingset
- Go fishing
- Go star-gazing, or roll out a picnic blanket and watch some clouds drift along
- Go people-watching
- Try a non-screen activity (maybe even put your phones away for an evening)
- Go for a walk (or run)
- Bake something delicious
- Try some fun DIYs (there are plenty of these on TikTok, ask your teen if they’ve seen any fun DIY trends they want to try)
- Tie-dye something
- Clean out your closets (siblings may even consider doing clothing swaps)
- Paint nails together
- Go on a snack run and get your fav treats
- Go for a drive
- Kick around a soccer ball, hit some baseballs, shoot hoops
- Go on a bike ride
- Whip out that old Razor scooter
- Draw with chalk on the sidewalk
Here are some practices your teen can try on their own:
- 5 minutes of silence
- Lectio Divina