Why it’s good for your baby to be bored sometimes

Posted on February 8th, 2018

In our drive to provide the kind of stimulation that leads to brain development, we’re overlooking a simple fact: sometimes, the best way to learn is by doing, well, nothing. By Lisa Witepski

Why it is good for your baby to be bored

You’re probably used to being”on” non-stop. If you’re not tapping away at your laptop, you’re quickly shooting off a WhatsApp – and even if your activities are more low key, like reading or even following a recipe – your brain never really rests, does it?

Which is why those moments when you allow your thoughts to drift away are some of the most blissful – and, perhaps counterintuitively, the most productive too. Scientists say that these daydreaming episodes can lead to great creativity, and the same goes for your baby.

So, next time you reach for that rattle, consider the following:

Quiet doesn’t mean inactive

We often feel as though we have to fill baby’s every waking moment with some kind of educational activity. The reality, though, is that it’s when your little one is doing absolutely nothing – not exploring texture or discovering colour – that their brains are particularly active, processing and assimilating everything that’s around them. This is a skill you want to encourage, because it helps develop a greater concentration span. It also means that, as they grow, they’ll be able to find ways to entertain themselves without constantly turning to you for some kind of stimulation.

ALSO SEE: 12 simple ways to make a smarter baby

Slow is best

You probably wonder what your career might have been like if you’d been exposed to the amazing educational apps our kids have access to. Fear not: your boring old analogue childhood actually made you far better equipped to handle learning. That’s because the apps and TV programmes made for kids take place at high speed, so that when they are exposed to the slowness of real world learning, it’s almost too monotonous for them to take in.

Fancy is just fussy

Remember those ads showing a toddler playing with the box that previously housed an expensive toy, while the gadget itself lay, ignored, to one side? There’s some truth in it. While there’s no doubt today’s light-up toys with sound and motion are all very exciting, the reality is that your little one will have just as much fun – and learn just as much, too – by handling every day items like your keys or an old necklace.

ALSO SEE: Make your own educational toys for your toddler

Not achieving is, actually, achieving

When we see baby reaching for something and experiencing frustration at their failure, our instinct is to lend a helping hand. But, before you do that, think about this: do you want your child to learn that when they’re struggling, they just need to say the word and someone will step in for them – or that if they keep going, they’ll be able to figure things out for themselves?

All you need is love

Rather than the latest gadget that promises to turn your baby into a genius, all you actually need is to connect with her. Simply looking into her eyes throughout the day – when you change her nappy or pass her bottle – is enough to prime her for a world where personal success often comes to the quality of your relationships.

ALSO SEE: 5 simple ways to bond with your baby


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