Is it good for kids to be bored? How bored do you let your children get?

(71 Posts)
HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 25-Mar-13 20:35:34

Today, an education expert has said children should be allowed to get bored "so they can develop their innate ability to be creative".

Dr Teresa Belton says society has "developed an expectation of being constantly occupied and constantly stimulated... but children need to have stand-and-stare time, time imagining and pursuing their own thinking processes".

Do you agree? And if so, how do you deal with the inevitable whines of "What shall we do now?"

Or do you think it's better to keep your children busy and encourage them children to try lots of different activities?

weevilswobble Mon 25-Mar-13 20:40:11

Everything in moderation. Boredom can lead to antisocial behaviour if children don't have resources available to them. They need to know they are allowed to make a mess and have permission to get a hammer and nails and a bit of wood. I was, and did, I was always busy keeping busy. But only because I was allowed. Iyswim

Bookwolf32 Mon 25-Mar-13 20:48:07

Children should definitely be allowed to get bored, and not allowed to default to the tv when they are bored. I look after some children and the youngest finds it almost impossible to entertain herself unless she has a screen. I find it so depressing. When I was a kid I would read, make junk models, draw, but then I grew up when kids tv was only on for a couple of hours a day!

forevergreek Mon 25-Mar-13 20:56:01

Yes I agree. It's fine having structure/ plans to a day, but I think some element of 'free play' needs to be included. Many seem to get dragged from class to class without some time out

I think we do 50/50 of planned things, adult helping etc v leaving them to decide or come up with something

Gales Mon 25-Mar-13 21:01:01

I find they don't stay bored for long.

I often get complaints of boredom but if ignored they soon find something to do. I agree with weevils though that this "something" often involves making a mess and/or a noise. I understand fully why some parents keep their DC occupied all the time or in front of a screen.

ByTheWay1 Mon 25-Mar-13 21:05:33

Yep - mine get sooooooo bored they offer to take the dog for a walk, or clean the guinea pigs out - win/win for me!

They are 10 and 12 now - so it is easy to find them something to do if they whinge - (though even when they were younger they could clean a skirting board wink ) - hence they don't whinge.... another win/win for me...

It is also a win for them as if they offer to do things freely because they are bored they have found they tend to get treated more than if they whinge about being bored.

Curtsey Mon 25-Mar-13 21:07:13

Obviously a bit of structure, planning and input is essential.

But it seems to me that there's an element of holding your nerve when it comes to a bored child. The constant whining of 'what can we dooooo' is a great way to needle an adult into snapping and organising something...but if you can hold off and let them reach the absolute threshold of boredom, they usually end up turning to either books or sport/fresh air. And if it happens often enough, the books/sport become a habit and they don't get bored at all in the first place. Perfect result, if you ask me!

Zatopek Mon 25-Mar-13 21:07:26

I don't enjoy having bored children and find it very stressful.

I find whinging, whining, lounging around, rolling around, excessive "humping", demands for screen time difficult to tolerate so I am always trying to suggest things they might like to do. I appreciate this stops them for thinking for themselves.

I am always offering to get down on the floor and play. But since my DD started school she no longer wants to/is too tired to play and seems to have lost all interest in her toys.

Going out is usually the answer but not always practical or enjoyable in the long cold winter.

BangOffTrend Mon 25-Mar-13 21:22:53

Our DC have never complained of boredom but then they are still young, 6, 4 and 3. Between school and the usual activities; swimming, beavers, homework...they are pretty much left to entertain themselves with games, drawing, make believe, etc, for as long as possible. Call it "benign neglect"!

That there are three of them so close in age means little time for boredom and that is a bit of a shame as I believe being content with your own company and being able to keep yourself occupied is vital to a happy life. TV is minimal, a treat, and we are keen not depend on it.

No doubt before long they will be moaning about boredom and I'll be trotting out platitudes about only boring people being bored. I can only hope they love reading and thus will never be bored!

Bitzer Mon 25-Mar-13 21:30:30

Mine are left to get bored quite a lot. We don't have much of a garden so it's mostly indoor bored. Not because I'm consciously fostering their creative spirits but because I take on too much and then always have a million things to do when I'm with them so end up leaving them to their own devices, probably for a bit too long. I err between thinking it's good for them (when I eavesdrop on some crazy game they've made up) and feeling a bit guilty and neglectful (because they end up fighting when unmediated for long periods and there are lots of tears).

There are some activities that I really enjoy doing with them e.g. jigsaws, reading, drawing - so mostly sedentary stuff but we sometimes we put on music and do some daft dancing – and therefore do a lot of. But I'm not great at playing 'mummy and baby' and such-like for extended periods. Anyway, the result is that the activities I do with them are quite limited and they would probably benefit from me suggesting/choreographing a few more varied games.

I guess, like everything, boredom is probably good in moderation. But the DC do have friends who own every conceivable toy/electronic source of entertainment on the market and are allowed limitless TV etc, and I think on balance I prefer more boredom.

AllDirections Mon 25-Mar-13 21:37:07

My DC are benignly neglected very creative

At last I seem to have got something right <polishes halo>

This is trotted out all the time as a solution to all the ills in the world 'allow children to be bored, so they become creative'
What actually happens is bored children plonk themselves in front of a screen and become even more flaccid and un-creative.

Allowing children opportunities and space and facilities and resources and support and inspiration and guidance and input is what makes them creative.

Art is underrated as an activity that can promote problem solving, introspection and thoughtfulness. Boredom per se does not do this

serin Mon 25-Mar-13 22:14:55

Zatopek "Excessive Humping"?? grin

The mind boggles.

I used to tell mine there was no such thing as bored, and suggested they might be tired and need a nap instead.

Now they are older they usually take a rugby ball to the park.

MsMarple Mon 25-Mar-13 22:20:57

I used to feel guilty for not doing lots of active-parent-engaging-child-in-play stuff, but now I see I was simply giving him space to develop creatively!

When anyone in our house has ever said they are bored, my mantra is 'if you are bored, do something nice for someone else'

That shuts them up!

DomesticCEO Mon 25-Mar-13 22:25:20

Norks, isn't the point that you don't give them the option of screen time to alleviate the boredom?

MsMarple Mon 25-Mar-13 22:26:10

Norksaremessy - I totally agree with you about giving kids resources, support, opportunities etc, and about art too BUT children only 'plonk themselves infront of a screen' if you let them. You don't have to have allow them to stupify themselves.

Startail Mon 25-Mar-13 22:37:45

Sometimes, I've refused to organise anything for my 12&25y DDs today and eventually after a bit of fighting they have got bored of computers, cleared the dinning table and drawn and done a bit of craft.

DD1 likes craft and is doing art GCSE. DD2 actually can draw, but lacks confidence and has to be in the right frame of mind to start.

So yes sometimes being bored is good, too much being bored clearly causes troble.

AlteredState Mon 25-Mar-13 22:41:19

BangOffTrend "^...only boring people being bored." Oh if I had a quid for every time I've said that to dd(6)! Usually she ends up reading a book (I caught her in the bath with a library book the other night!).

Smudging Mon 25-Mar-13 22:42:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Smudging Mon 25-Mar-13 22:43:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

forevergreek Mon 25-Mar-13 23:05:25

We have no tv so they def can't get bored and watch it. Being left to occupy themselves ( with us near as still young), usually involves play dough/ watercolours/ Lego/ train track/ or some game involving animals with pirates and fairies all living in shoes!

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Tue 26-Mar-13 04:35:48

I kind of agree, but times have changed- someone recently wrote that "children today are effectively under house arrest", and I think she has a point. A child's ability to be creative and find something to do is curtailed by the lack of independence children have these days. Child of Our Time noted that the distance the average 10 year old child is allowed to go by themselves has fallen by something like 30 times since 1980.

sleepywombat Tue 26-Mar-13 04:59:22

As a child I once made the mistake of telling my mum I was bored. She gave me a whole list of household chores to do. Never again!

Lavenderhoney Tue 26-Mar-13 05:02:53

As soon as my dd started to walk, both dc dumped me as a playmate -( they are 6 and 3 now!) and played together, favourites are playing dress up and make up adventures. They paint each others faces, draw and colour, watch tv and favourite DVDs together and generally only find me for correct spelling to write posterssmile ds even reads to dd and makes it up if he gets stuck.
I don't mind mess, noise, bit of spilt water etc. they help me cook, clean and know to find something to do if I am busy.

When they are bored they argue and wrestle but it always finishes with giggling. I might suggest a park or a walk, or offer to build a den and give them a real picnic to play.

Tv is ok- they aren't allowed anything except cbeebies or fireman Sam which they get bored withsmile etc so they only watch tv for about 30 mins before shouting " lets play hide and seek" etc. I don't think it's anything I do - its them. But I really don't mind mess and shouting with excitement. Dh does, and is quick to use the tv as its easier for him.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Tue 26-Mar-13 05:11:23

As soon as my dd started to walk, both dc dumped me as a playmate

Now this is music to my ears. I have DS (2.5) and DD (8mo). DD is currently not much fun for DS, although he seems to like her. She's looking like being an early walker, so maybe i'll be redundant in a few months- yay!

Lavenderhoney Tue 26-Mar-13 05:31:22

Rich man, I felt quite left out! I remember going into ds room whe they were dressed as pirates and sitting on the bed. Cue screams from ds of " mummy, that's our pirate ship! Get off, you'll sink it! " cheers kidssmile I asked if I could join in and they looked at each other and said not really...

Plus driving whilst they chat and mess in the back. It's clear I am driver status only. Unless I have snackssmile

purpleroses Tue 26-Mar-13 08:19:07

It's not exactly about making them get bored. It's about preventing the "easy fill" things - computer games and TV mainly - from being used to occupy them the second that they find they don't have anything in particular to do. If those things are always on tap then they never get bored, but they also never get the chance to think of something to do.

Have been trying to convince DP of the need to force kids off screens for extended periods of time (ie a few hours) since we moved in together. Have had great success with his younger two, who now play long imaginative games with my DD, but at 14 his elder son seems a lost cause sad Just sits on the couch for hours on end moaning that he's bored and how cruel we are to limit his computer hours. Think you need to let them learn to play and amuse themselves before teenage years set in.

Beechview Tue 26-Mar-13 08:29:30

I agree with the earlier comments about access to resources.

My sons (7yrs and 5yrs) have never said they are bored.

There is no tv at all during the week. They can go on the laptop to use Education City for 15mins each a couple of times a week.
We go out a lot and I'll do some baking with them from time to time.

They have access to lots of paper, pens and crayons etc, how to draw book, lego, dinosaurs, lots of vehicles and tracks, other toys and each other.

They're often left to get on with it and always find something to do.

ThreeTomatoes Tue 26-Mar-13 08:31:02

I agree to a certain extent, and especially for younger children. I remember the relief I felt when I came across this blog (dd would have been 3 at the time), as I struggled with guilt at leaving dd to it as much as I did. It's been really good for dd so far (she's 9) to be bored sometimes - I was a lone parent, SAHM, so when she was little, she was bored by necessity, i'd have gone nuts if I had to entertain her 100% of the time, it meant i could get what I needed done and that she learnt (she's an only child) to find her own entertainment, and it's paid dividends. (Although, ok, the TV does take over at times! I'm surprised at how much time she doesn't spend in front of the TV, voluntarily, though)

However, I think for teenagers boredom becomes more destructive. I was far too bored as a teenager, and I wish now that my parents had made the effort to make sure I was involved in out-of-school stuff. Narrowly avoided getting involved with the 'wrong crowd' in the streets etc (thankfully due to strict parents who kept me in once they realised - but there you see, I was bored shitless indoors and bored with school, I don't understand why they didn't find something else for me to get involved in. And actually, we grew up without a TV and now I think about it, it might have helped if we had one!!! wink).

I know a few 'kids' who are entering their 20s now who have done really well, and who have on the whole been happy well-adjusted confident and trouble-free teenagers (complete opposite to myself) and I'm looking to their parents for guidance on what to do with dd when she enters her teens - the key seems to be "keep them busy", e.g. one set were heavily involved with the Woodcraft Folk, which I'm hoping to get dd involved in from Sept.

Beechview Tue 26-Mar-13 08:35:56

And to add to my post - my sons know they are allowed to play on the xbox on Saturdays and start talking about it and badgering me about it from when they get up. I'm sure if they knew that was an option on weekdays, they'd be whining about it til I gave in.

I think an adviser (on childhood ?) to the PM said similar things a few weeks ago - the "children need time to be bored" thing. I just wish they'd put it a bit differently really .... I think children need time away from structured adult led activities, such as after-school clubs and school, to play and explore their interests more freely. But I'd so much rather see the word "play" than "bored" to describe this. A great educator once said "play is a child's work" And Tina Bruce says "children need stimulating first-hand experiences which they can make their own through free-flow play" We don't appreciate or understand play as a society I think, much to the detriment of our provision to the early years and to young children.
It just shows how bad this has got when experts revert to the concept of "boredom" to express their ideas of the importance of unstructured time, rather than the much richer concept of children having time to play smile

Kendodd Tue 26-Mar-13 09:34:12

I started a thread about this ages ago, saying that a bit of boredom is good for them, forcing them to use their imaginations and entertain themselves.

As for what do we do when they complain about being bored, my friend had the best comment- "what do I look like a, red coat, go and find something to do"

clicketyclick66 Tue 26-Mar-13 10:37:55

We weren't allowed to be bored as kids, if we dared to say it Mum would give us a list of household chores or Dad would give us sandpaper and order us to sand the rusty gates on the farm!

anklebitersmum Tue 26-Mar-13 10:43:22

Mine don't get bored too often..they all play together. usually the problem is not boredom it's sounding like they're about to come through the ceiling.

When they do get bored I am a mean Mummy and make like sleepywombat's Mum.

You'd be amazed how fast my lot stop whinging and find something interesting to do when you threaten tidying up wink

daytoday Tue 26-Mar-13 11:11:43

I think the word 'bored' is a bit a misleading. I think children need to find stimulation from within, their own ideas - rather than having other peoples ideas fed into them via TV, computers, parents. I also think quiet and stillness are important to experience.

I'm a great believer in giving kids space and letting them see what they fill it with themselves.

But of course, sometimes they aren't in the mood and thats when boredom becomes negative.

boxershorts Tue 26-Mar-13 11:27:22

Bored |I thought most on the boys were doing games on tv

Chandon Tue 26-Mar-13 11:36:56

I let them get bored a fair bit, but have one stuctured activity most days during holidays ( swimming, a walk or film or activity).

You have to allow them free reign with shoe boxes, sellotape and paint though.

Oldest DS coes up with fab plans when he is bored, he becomes very creative and entertains himself. Youngest gets bored, has no clue, and just reads for 2 hours then whines to wtach TV or go on the computer.

I am not sure that being bored brings out creativity in a non-creative person, whereas if a person is naturally creative you have indeed to allow them time and space to get bored so ideas can flourish, and also, then let them get on with it.

Thumbwitch Tue 26-Mar-13 12:11:51

I have cultivated this on long journeys. I refuse point blank to buy into the idea that children need to be entertained by DVD players or other hand-held gadgets on long journeys. DS1 has never had much in the way of entertainment in the car, other than talking/singing with us, or playing with a couple of toys, and even that is stopped sometimes after the nth time of "mummy I dropped x on the floor and can't reeeeaccch it..."

DS1 is very good at amusing himself. DS2 will have to learn to do the same, or he and DS1 can amuse each other. smile

ThreeTomatoes Tue 26-Mar-13 12:33:27

Thumbwitch on the other hand on trains , buses etc I can't understand those parents who sit there getting annoyed with their bored screaming kiddies but without ANY form of entertainment for them. I always think, what do you expect? wink

Agree Juggling re 'play' - dd really enjoys after school club (as in wrap around care) precisely i think because although there's all sorts of opportunities given to them - art, games etc - they are free to do what they hell they like really, from what I can tell dd and her little group of friends there tend to just 'play'.

Mine are very close in age and I started studying when the youngest was 8 months so they've never really had me as in house entertainer/playmate.

They're upstairs now playing some sort of convoluted shop game, I imagine they'll come begging for snacks soon but other than that they're expected to fend for themselves for the most part.

I have to agree with those upthread who've said you have to accept a trade off in the level of mess created though. Dp tends to chuck the tv on for them in an attempt to curtail the destruction whereas I'll boot them upstairs to play and accept the rooms will be demolished as a result... But then tidying them up again is also a good boredom cure wink

ladydepp Tue 26-Mar-13 14:04:14

Chandon - I really agree with your comment about creative and non-creative types. I am a non-creative type and was incredibly bored through much of my childhood. My mother (single mum) was too busy/bored to play with me at all and my siblings were much older and moved out by the time I was 7 or 8. I spent huge amounts of time on my own or playing with neighbouring kids who I didin't really like. I don't look back on it with much happiness.

This may be why I tend to veer towards more structure for my 3 dc's, although I do try to keep a few hours free each day in the holidays for them to do their own thing.

I think assuming that bored children will magically turn into more intelligent and creative children is not necessarily true. Some children, like adults, benefit from more structure.

I don't do much organising of activities for my DS, but I am very busy and very reative and always like to be doing something, as does DP, and I tihnk that has basically just rubbed off on DS because he spends most of his time choosing what to do himself and then getting on with things, he rarely says he is bored. Car journeys are the only time he says he is bored.

We are a very active family and weekends are mostly spent outdoors and DS just comes along with us and gets on with it. He is an only child and is very good at entertaining himself.

I make sure his room is well stocked with stuff he might need to be creative (newspapers, cellulose paste, cardboard, duck tape, masking take, paints, wood, tools etc etc.

DS " mum I'm bored"

me "wwll you could always clean the windows/hang the washing up/hoover/do some maths revision"

DS "oh I just remembered I'm going to build a fort in the garden/read a book/build a lego starwars base..."

mindosa Tue 26-Mar-13 14:56:40

Its important to allow your children the opportunity to learn and experience new things so imo swimming lessons, dancing, tennis etc - all good.
That is different to feeling that you have to sit with them doing craft, that to me is too much.

pollypandemonium Tue 26-Mar-13 15:07:23

I was in hospital with my daughter recently and all the beds had TVs. The hospital classroom was empty because the children all prefered TV - except mine of course. The nurses insisted that children were allowed to have the TVs on even at night because it gave them comfort made their jobs easier.

We need more research on this subject, definitive research. We need an army of specialists with FACTS and GUIDELINES that we can wave at our children and say "if you have any more than xx hours of screen time a day your health will be harmed".

These well-meaning reports by the great and good are nice, but won't change anything without decent data. How hard can it be to find some numbers?

forevergreek Tue 26-Mar-13 15:13:59

Exactly, we might spend an hour painting together or building a model in the morning, later in the day when Im doing something else they might use their own initiative to get the watercolours or crayons out and do something themselves.

pollypandemonium Tue 26-Mar-13 15:22:29

My daughters are both teenagers and when the plugs are pulled they both have found something they like doing and usually do that. But I really have to pull the plugs out, including the router in order for them to be creative.

The researchers also need to stop and think about computer programmes that are very creative and actually mimic real life toys - such as minecraft / lego, sims / dolls houses. There is a lot of creative play on offer on computers too and there is 'downtime' within those games where nothing happens. When they play online there is collaboration as well. But of course the research on this hasn't been done yet...

Thingymajigs Tue 26-Mar-13 15:33:24

I have a list ready to hand out to my kids whenever they mention boredom. In fact, its called the "OMG, I'm so bored!" list. Its full of ideas from arts and crafts to basic household chores. The idea was that when they began moaning they would pick an activity and do it but actually all I have to do is reach for the list and they stop complaining. So, it doesn't make them anymore productive but they're quieter about their annoyance.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 26-Mar-13 18:50:42

I totally agree that dc need to think for themselves, have down time and occupy themselves. I would not call this boredom though, its just occupying yourself. Boredom is surely the opposite, not being able to find something to do, or to think for yourself.

Exactamundo potatoprints smile

Meglet Tue 26-Mar-13 19:02:53

Apart from school and nursery we only do swimming Beavers / tennis, so the timetable isn't crammed with activities.

Mine (6.5 and 4.6) are incapable of being bored. I've said before that I could remove every toy, every sofa cushion, pencil, puzzle, blanket and twig and put them in a plain white room and they'd still find a way of amusing themselves. They are lovely but unstoppable.

Zatopek Tue 26-Mar-13 20:35:12

serin "Excessive Humping"??

The mind boggles.

It is as you imagine. It's a bit of a delicate subject area and I don't think I'm alone in have a DD who does this when she's tired. I try to discourage it and tell her not to do it in company but it has become a bit of a habit I think. Difficult one to ask the health visitor about though!

lljkk Tue 26-Mar-13 20:37:42

Bored DS tends to pester rest of family in most irritating ways he can think of. So not good at all.

I really think how good boredom is for you depends on personality. Some of my children can handle it quite productively and one becomes a nightmare child.

peanutbutterandbanana Tue 26-Mar-13 21:40:08

Brilliant Horizon programme on last week (probably still on the BBC Iplayer) about the creative brain. It concluded that the brain needs space and time to be creative. Moments of inspiration come when doing dull routine tasks that require no thinking... so get them to sort out their pencils or clear out their cupboards and hey-presto, they will be inspired as to what to play next. Ta Dah!

pollypandemonium Tue 26-Mar-13 21:46:09

Of course - they all need to do more dull repetetive tasks. I've got plenty to choose from!

Arcticwaffle Tue 26-Mar-13 21:46:16

I think it's an over-simplified idea. I have 3 dds. 2 of them are virtually never bored, however little input I offer. dd1 says, "I don't get bored, I just think". She's unusually patient. dd2 however is restless and easily bored, she was like it as a baby, a toddler and now at 11, she thrives on lots of activity and lots of people around. So I've always tended to find lots of activities because dd2 seems to have such a strong need for it. I have at times thought she verges on ADHD but she doesn't have behavioural problems, just thrives on activity.

dd1 and dd3 like quite a lot of activities organised to join in but they don't have the same need for it. They could each amuse themselves, from babyhood, but dd2 still can't really. She's the one most likely to want the tv/computer.

pollypandemonium Tue 26-Mar-13 22:04:59

I agree with you Arctic - for every one Meera Syal out there there will be many more like your dd2 (and mine) who just need the input and who, without the input will not find inspiration.

exoticfruits Tue 26-Mar-13 23:14:33

Absolutely agree.
They don't need to stay bored.
My stock answers were always:
A mother is a lot of things- but chief entertainer is not one of them
Only boring people get bored.
I wish that I had the time to be bored.
I can find you a job to do. ( that one generally caused them to melt away quick)

MrsSham Tue 26-Mar-13 23:31:03

There is no excuse for being bored. I agree children should learn to occupy themselves but I don't agree they should be allowed to get bored. Go and do something if you are at a loos end but no need to be bored. As far as I'm concerned a bored child lacks creativity and imagination.

MrsSham Tue 26-Mar-13 23:35:07

Posted to soon. Some children who find creative play and forward thinking need help to be imaginative, stand and stare time will do then no favours, what's wrong with being able to help a child and point them in the right direction if they struggle to occupy themselves.

Thumbwitch Tue 26-Mar-13 23:50:05

Threetomatoes - DS1 doesn't get bored on the train - but I do take paper and crayons to restaurants for him, and maybe a couple of small plastic animals. It's all been great training for the 24h flights home... and at least he gets to watch films on those! smile

ThreeTomatoes Wed 27-Mar-13 07:02:46

peanutbutter that reminds me of an episode of Big Bang Theory where Sheldon tries to find a menial job when he gets stuck on a physics problem, because he'd heard the same theory! grin

PollyEthelEileen Wed 27-Mar-13 07:12:15

Yes, I agree with letting children get bored so that they can stimulate their own imaginations and creativity (nothing breakthrough from Dr Belton - I've known this for 20 years).

I have never run after my children trying to make sure every minute is packed. How exhausting!

I have "Crazy Wednesdays" in the holidays. All the neighbourhood DCs come to our house and I set them a challenge:
How best to drop a raw egg out of an upstairs window without it breaking.
How to make "the best" Lego vehicle.
Olympic Games
What is the most interesting experiment you can make with cornflour.

I provide resources and books, but they set the criteria for "success" (usually a "Top Gear" style chart table). I then retreat to the kitchen and make snacks. Some very creative ideas have resulted, they found 15 different ways to drop the egg for example, and 9 stayed intact!
I am a very creative person anyway, so perhaps creativity rubs off on DCs, but that wouldn't explain the great thinking from their friends and neighbours. I think children need permission to let themselves think creatively, and some need a "seed idea" to work from.

merrymouse Wed 27-Mar-13 10:08:25

Agree with Threetomatoes

I think when people think of the kind of things that children do when they are bored - play outside, read books, make things - there is an assumption that the child has access to safe outdoor play space, books in the house, and, at the very least, an adult who will make sure that there is a supply of junk/old clothes and the odd roll of sellotape.

Not all children have these things.

I think Teresa Belton is completely right. However, it made me a little cross when that government person started talking about it. What are hoodies in precincts doing if not 'making their own fun'?

exoticfruits Wed 27-Mar-13 13:22:38

If they are fairly useless amusing themsleves then InMySpareTime has good ideas-set a challenge.

merrymouse Wed 27-Mar-13 20:56:13

Just started reading 'Phoenix and carpet' to children. So far in chapter 1 these pre tv children are amusing themselves by setting off fireworks inside. In '5 children and it' they tried to beat up a delivery boy. It could be a gritty story set on a sink estate. (Except for servants).

ThreeTomatoes Thu 28-Mar-13 09:07:35

grin merrymouse I love those books! Different times huh...

isabel9354 Thu 28-Mar-13 10:31:14

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Arcticwaffle Thu 28-Mar-13 11:54:13

I think even my restless 11yo wouldn't be bored if she had a talking phoenix and a magic carpet.

InMySpareTime's post is interesting as my restless one is actually very creative in many ways (does lots of art and craft, good at fast thinker type competitions, often wins prizes for her creations, she would be an ideal child for Crazy Wednesday competitions) but she still can't just settle down and do something like that without a challenge or a competition to work for. Whereas my 12yo and 8yos will create models or artwork or knitting or whittling all over the place without any urge to compete, 11yo can only do it if it's a set task or a challenge or a competition.

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