Let them be bored

School is out for summer this week (or in our case next week) and as far as summer preparations go I’m feeling pretty good—vacations are booked, summer camps registered, sunblock stash is fully stocked, and everyone fits in their swim suits. My art closet is fully loaded, ready for every Pinterest craft and activity imaginable. Mondays are grocery days, Wednesdays and Fridays are pool days. I even scheduled the days I’ll be going to yoga class this summer because god knows I’m going to need it!

However, no matter how much I plan, there’s always the nagging feeling that I’m unprepared. An unsettling fear that I’ll be that lady in the grocery store leaving her cart in the middle of the produce isle bolting out of the store because she just realized she forgot to pick up her kids from camp.

Thankfully this is not my first (summer) rodeo. In addition to being armed with my color coded planner and a solid group of mom friends with minivans, the one thing that I always have to remind myself of every summer is this: it’s ok for kids to be bored.

Marker drawing on legs

There are a ton of articles and studies on the benefits of boredom and kids. It’s one of those things that in theory seems really simple but in reality is really hard to practice, especially when the decibel level of your whining kids is the equivalent to nails on a chalkboard. What I have found is that as long as you can move past the whining, complaining, and bickering that comes from boredom, it eventually becomes the birthplace of creativity and imagination.

Two kids painting faces at table
Girl holds flashlight and shines in other girls face while standing against a wall

Kids don’t need to be taught how to play. Most of the time, play is how they learn best and they’re brains are already hardwired to do so. Armed with curiosity, determination, and a constant desire to test boundaries, kids have no problems occupying their time on their own. Most of the time we parents just have to step back and let them.

Boy pushes large stick into tree trunk
Three girls climb the limbs of a large coniferous tree

It’s not always easy to let our kids figure things out themselves, to not be on a schedule, or have the patience to let our kids experiment and create epic and seemingly wasteful messes. But from one Type A mother to another, I want to let you know that when you finally do let go of the reigns—it’s going to be ok. Whether the day ends in big hugs and smiles or in an epic meltdown of tears, it’s going to be ok. Because you got to witness your child’s magic that day. And you get to do it all over again tomorrow.

Are you looking to have your family’s summer magic and creativity photographed with a documentary session? Let’s chat, I’d love to hear from you!