Parents work very hard over the summer months to do all they can to avoid the dreaded "I'm bored" cries from their children. They book summer camps and buy endless arts and crafts supplies to keep their children entertained, they schedule play dates and extracurricular activities all in the name of keeping their kids busy. But is it all worth it? A new study is now suggesting that being bored could actually lead to more creativity in both kids and adults, so the next time your child finds themselves with nothing to do, don't feel the need to step in and schedule something and wait and see what they come up with themselves.
In a study done by the Research School of Management at Australian National University, researchers found that boredom may not be all that bad for you. In fact, boredom can often spark bouts of incredible creativity that wouldn't necessarily happen if someone was active. In the study, 52 participants were asked to sort red and green beans, using just one hand, for half an hour.
At the same time, another control group of 49 participants was asked to use beans, paper, and glue to create art projects, Fast Company reports. After the 30 minutes were up, both groups were asked to come up with reasons why a hypothetical person may be two hours late for a meeting. Researchers found that the group who was tasked with the boring chore of separating the beans came up with more and more creative reasons than the control group who was tasked with creative projects.
“Boredom is not necessarily miserable and harmful based on my research,” says the study’s lead author, Guihyun Park. “People want to get out of a boring state, so they indulge in novelty-seeking unique thinking, which brings out creativity.”
Teacher Regina Restivo told CBS New York that overscheduling kids is stifling their creativity. "There’s a new term out, it’s called lawnmower parents, where the parents push the kids to do everything, and as a teacher, I see, certainly see a difference. There’s a lack of creativity," she noted. "Boredom is our brain’s way of searching for interesting, stimulating activity," psychiatrist Dr. Sue Varma added. "And if we can’t find it in the external environment, we are going to create it. My fear is that now we live in a work warrior culture and we’re promoting productivity at the expense of creativity, and we’re finding that as IQs are increasing, creativity quotients are actually decreasing," Dr. Varma added.
So the next time your child complains of being bored let them use their own imagination and creativity to come up with a solution to their boredom instead of relying on their parents to schedule or plan an activity. Not only will the children flex their creative muscles, but it will also give parents a much-needed break!