Viw Magazine

  • Written by Mandie Shean, Lecturer, School of Education, Edith Cowan University

Most Australian children are stuck at home due to the outbreak of COVID-19. They need to find ways to socialise, do their school work, exercise and entertain themselves.

It’s not surprising parents may be hearing “I’m bored” a lot more than before.

People hate being bored. So much so that in one study, one-quarter of participants said they would rather give themselves a painful shock than be in a room with no external stimulus (music, books, phones) for 15 minutes.

This shows how much people want to escape the feeling of boredom.

But while boredom causes temporary uncomfortable feelings, it can be good for us in many ways – from stimulating creativity to helping train our concentration.

Why do we get bored?

Boredom is an emotional state, that is temporary. A bored person has unpleasant feelings, lacks interest in completing tasks and has problems paying attention.

A bored person has things they can do, they just can’t (or won’t) engage with activities.

Read more: Kids at home because of coronavirus? Here are 4 ways to keep them happy (without resorting to Netflix)

Boredom can come from lack of rest and nutrition, lack of mental stimulation or too much repetition (lack of novelty). People with a high sensitivity to reward, meaning those who need constant stimulation to feel satisfied, are more at risk of being bored.

Boredom doesn’t mean you don’t have things to do; you just don’t want to do them. Shutterstock

A person can get bored if a task isn’t stimulating enough, if the work is too hard or too easy and if activities lack meaning and challenge.

Lack of control can also contribute to boredom. In one study, students showed more boredom when an adult picked their leisure activity than when they were allowed to generate their own.

COVID-19 may throw up all these situations – sleepless nights, not enough novelty and a lack of control.

The good and bad of being bored

Boredom can lead to creativity. Participants in one study showed more divergent thinking (finding multiple uses for items, making connections between seemingly unrelated ideas and generating multiple creative ideas) after doing a boring task.

In another study, participants had to either complete a boring activity of sorting beans by colour, or a fun craft activity before completing a creative task. Participants who had to sort the beans showed a better quality and quantity of ideas than those who had engaged in a craft activity prior to the creative task.

Creativity emerges because when one is bored, people actively seek something stimulating. Creativity is a challenge that meets this need.

Being bored also helps train our concentration and attention. While it is easy to turn to electronic devices to entertain and distract when we are bored, research shows devices don’t fulfil boredom.

Read more: Students less focused, empathetic and active than before – technology may be to blame

In fact, this “shallow” engagement with our devices decreases our ability to concentrate, attend to tasks and find flow.

Sitting with boredom and solving it is an effective way to train ourselves to concentrate and persevere through hard or monotonous tasks.

It teaches us to go to different places in our minds when we don’t have external stimulation. In other words, our mind gets a workout. Boredom is good for us and it’s good for your kid.

Solutions to boredom

So if you find your child is getting bored, you don’t need to feel guilty you’re not entertaining them.

Instead, think about the following:

  • check your child isn’t just hungry or tired as everything can feel boring then. It isn’t boredom, just lack of energy to engage in an activity

  • these are unusual times where a lot feels out of control so see how you can provide your child with new day-to-day choices (such as a menu for the day, where you eat dinner or what order they do their school work in)

  • don’t feel obligated or responsible to stop this “terrible experience” for your children. They can develop internal resources (attention, self-regulation, creativity) by having to solve the boredom problem themselves

  • teach your child not to be afraid of the feelings that come with boredom, but excited. Boredom is a signal that indicates change is needed. Help them generate ideas and then pick one to engage in. Let them be responsible for the choice. Get them to create a boredom box with ideas they can choose from

  • boredom is sometimes just getting over the hard part of getting started. Your child may not be bored, just not knowing where to start. Help them break a task down and get started

  • our attention is easily stolen by our mobile devices as they provide an easy distraction. Try setting a timer with your family, turn off your devices, and all engage in something meaningful for 20 minutes. Creativity emerges in space. You’ll never know what you could achieve if you keep distracting them.

Psychologist Heather Lench, who explores motivation, says boredom stops us ploughing the same old furrow, and pushes us to try to seek new goals or explore new territories or ideas. Rather than reject it, work with it and see what you and your children can create.

Authors: Mandie Shean, Lecturer, School of Education, Edith Cowan University

Read more

Four Steps for Creating Smart Financial Habits

The last few years have been highly stressful for society as a whole. And as it happened, the COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the financial wo...

Viw Magazine - avatar Viw Magazine

Decoding Dairy: 5 Reasons Why You May Wish to Go Dairy-Free

Thinking of giving up dairy? While no two people are the same in terms of how their bodies respond to dairy, there certainly are commona... - avatar

Help! I’m Out of Fuel, What Should I Do?

Gas prices worldwide are reaching the highest they've ever been. It's getting more tempting to push the limits of our empty lights. It ...

Viw Magazine - avatar Viw Magazine

Northern Adelaide Plumber shares his most common jobs

A general plumber is a professional who can perform a wide range of plumbing and heating services for both domestic and commercial clien...

Viw Magazine - avatar Viw Magazine

Gas Vs Electric Cooktops: Which Should I Get?

If you're looking to buy a new stove, you've probably been told that gas stoves and electric stoves have their advantages and disadvanta... - avatar

Online Activities to treat that stuck-indoors Aussie lockdown boredom

While we wait for Australian quarantines & lockdowns to reemerge in our lives somewhat like unwanted but old companions, the major p... - avatar

Buying and selling cryptocurrency: simple rules

There are several ways to buy crypto online:* Simple exchange * Centralized exchange * Decentralized exchange Simple exchanges are small s...

Anna Koretskaya - avatar Anna Koretskaya

Moving to a New City Alone? 5 Tips on Creating a New Hometown

Did you pack up and move away from home? Did you brave the big, ugly world on your own? There's nothing any braver than leaving the nes...

Viw Magazine - avatar Viw Magazine

6 Practical Ways to Get Your Family Into Healthy Eating

Healthy eating is one of the main aspects of a healthy, happy, long, and balanced life. And even though we all know that we should eat b...

Lilly Miller - avatar Lilly Miller

5 Tax Benefits Every Entrepreneur In Australia Must Know About

Like everywhere else, Australia encourages its public citizens and foreigners to invest and start a business in the country. However, yo... - avatar

How AI and chatbots are changing the BPO industry in the Philippines

Over the last decade, the global business process outsourcing industry, has grown exponentially. Many large businesses regularly contract ...

Viw Magazine - avatar Viw Magazine

What are the disadvantages of trading ETFs?

Most people are familiar with the advantages of trading ETFs, such as the low costs, flexibility, and tax efficiency. There are also som... - avatar

The relationship between mining and the Australian economy

Australia is a land rich in natural beauty. It’s also rich in natural resources, which means mining plays a huge role in the health of... - avatar

Keeping Clean in Your Old Age

Seniors should be more careful about their hygiene. They are more vulnerable to disease, so keeping clean will ensure their health. Howe... - avatar

Best Ways to Exchange Currency While Traveling Abroad

One trick you might never get from anywhere else about traveling abroad; get the most of foreign exchange currency before starting your ...

Viw Magazine - avatar Viw Magazine

Offering excellence for each of its products is Ozzy Tyres

The renowned Australian company since the past year has ventured into manufacturing products and, in only five months, made outstanding ...

Viw Magazine - avatar Viw Magazine

4 Effective Ways to Balance Your Fitness Goals with a Busy Schedule

It’s not always easy to stay fit, especially when your schedule is tight. After all, from preparing meals to working out regularly, fi... - avatar

Breathtaking Shipwrecks in Australia: Diving the HMAS Brisbane

The HMAS Brisbane is one of the most breathtaking shipwrecks in Australia to dive. Teeming with organisms of all shapes and sizes, the h... - avatar

E-signature: choose the best electronic document signing options

Modern technology does not stand still, and therefore there are programs to optimize work in the business segment. Software is indispens... - avatar

How to Calculate the Cost of a Hot Water System

A new hot water heater for your home is not a small purchase. While the costs can be difficult to cover, hot water is essential for your... - avatar

Writers Wanted

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion