Your child 5-11 years

What to do when your child says he is bored?


Agitation, guilt, incomprehension ...: few parents remain indifferent to a plaintive: "I'm bored, I do not know what to do" with their child. What does he really express? How to react ? Explanations and advice.

What do they say when they say, "I'm bored"?

  • Case 1:You have just unfolded your deckchair to dive into your thriller, and your son begins to whine: "I'm bored!" Or, another scene of daily life: it's when you start preparing the meal that your daughter comes to stick to you by meowing: "I do not know what to do!"
  • Annoying, but normal: the dreaded sentence is often synonymous with: "I want to spend time with you, but you're not available."
  • Case 2: "I do not know what to do!" Announces Marie-Lou entering the kitchen, still breathless and sunny by the game of hide and seek that has occupied all afternoon with the neighbors. Her formula is above all an expression of the intensity of what she has just experienced: the game was so absorbing that to find herself alone, without a particular program, fleetingly gives her that feeling of boredom.
  • We must actually hear: "I do not know what I'm going to do now." The time to drink, to breathe a little, and the girl disappears to new occupations.
  • Case 3:Six p.m. Melanie knows she will not be long in hearing him, the chorus of boredom. Because when her 5-year-old daughter moans, "I'm bored", it's her way of saying, "I'm exhausted, I'm hungry, I'm out of strength." The day is coming to an end and she has no energy to start a game, a drawing.
  • Swallowing a little nothing will give her a brief boost of energy, just enough to take a book, listen to a CD, or just daydreaming, lying on the carpet, not far from the reassuring presence of her mother.
  • Case 4:During the holidays, the friends are gone, the cousins ​​do not necessarily stay at Papi and Mamie at the same time ... Difficult sometimes to find playmates.
  • The "I'm bored" takes on its own meaning: "I'm alone, facing myself, and it's not always comfortable."

You're bored ? It bores me !

  • Let's be honest: which parent greets with phlegm a "shit not what's wrong!" Trailing? Whether one is disturbed in the break so rare that it was granted, or in the domestic chore that must be done, it is hard not to be annoyed! Because the boredom of our child does not leave us indifferent. There are those who are jealous: "Tell me that to me who never have free time, if I had, I have plenty to do!"
  • There are those who feel guilty: "If he's bored, he feels bad, it's my fault, I do not spend enough time on him." Those who find it inconceivable: "He is wasting his time while there is so much to learn!" Those who are idle with idleness ... So much so that the most common reflex is to drown it with suggestions: "You only have to ... play Playmobils, draw a picture, go outside, take a book, set the table ... "

You're bored ? What luck !

  • Yet there are many books of psychology enumerating all the richness of these moments of boredom, of that unoccupied time in which the mind can indulge freely in reverie. Thus Odile Chabrillac, in his Small eulogy of the boredom (editions Jouvence), warns: "To avoid the boredom with the child, it is to end up cutting it of its imaginary." Stuff the agenda of the children and to constrain all their occupations without leaving them free beaches, "will make them stereotyped adults and generally not very creative", pessimistically adds the psychoanalyst Etty Buzyn, in the preamble of his alarmist work (Dad, mom, let me time to dream!), based on the observations made in his office.
  • Yes, boredom stimulates the child's creativity, his enjoyment of the game, his ability to fantasize, putting him in touch with his inner world. Certainly, to find in oneself how to get out of boredom is less easy than to be offered something. But this is the experience of his freedom: "What do I want, me?" But in a society where the key words are efficiency and performance, where time must be "well used", adults are themselves anxious about this face-to-face encounter with oneself, the moment when one can no longer dodge one's emotions and sensations.

Taming the boredom

  • Okay, but then, we answer what a haunting: "What can I do? I do not know what to do!" "I read that boredom was important for their development," smiles Jean, father of three girls, "but I do not see myself saying," bother me, darling! "Or" do not do anything! " Certainly, no.
  • Sometimes it suffices to signify that we have heard the recrimination for the child to accept his condition: "Oh, you're bored?" Is content to say Fanélie sometimes to one of his four children who, assured to have been taken seriously, then move on to something else.
  • To train the child to discern his desire, it is better "to avoid offering him something premature, in which he will have nothing to create, like television or a digital game," advises Stephanie Planche-Jaffret, clinical psychologist. Just ask the question: "What do you want?" If nothing comes, we can continue by pointing out that we are not always obliged to do something: "You can take time for yourself, ask yourself, to stay in your thoughts. "The role of the adult, is also to refrain from intervening when the child does nothing without complaining. What a bad memory that these daydreams interrupted by a scathing: "If you have nothing better to do, come and set the table!" Or, in a more educational appearance: "Take at least one book!"
  • This moment of "nothing" or "empty" is "a place to go elsewhere", wrote nicely Etty Buzyn. The child never stays there long! Imagination takes over and a cabin is built with the cushions of the sofa, a circuit is a path between the chairs ... So we do not hinder these initiatives. And too bad for the bazaar in the living room. Nathalie is the mother of three children aged 6 to 8, and she raises them alone. For her, it was not possible to enroll them in extra-curricular activities: too expensive. But she has no regrets: "My children never get bored, they spend whole days imagining universes, playing roles, disguising themselves ... Well, for sure, my house is not not worthy of a deco catalog! "To the followers of the" useful "time, Stéphanie Planche-Jaffret replies:" The efficiency is not always in the making but rather in the being, especially for a child who grows up. "
  • Let's use the parenthesis of the summer to change the look on the boredom and to convince oneself that having time to lose is to win.

Anne Bideault for the supplement for the parents of the magazine Apple of Api