“My kid tends to get bored relatively quick”
We are all constantly worried about our children: are they doing okay? Are they reaching their full potential? Am I doing a good job as a mom? Should I do something differently?
As a Clinical Psychologist, I get these questions a whole lot and have always been asked to give out tips that could help parents contribute to their child’s wellbeing and psychological, social and emotional development. So here they are…
The following blog post will discuss a subject that you probably encounter on a daily basis: play!
Most children have a tendency to roam around the house and switch from one activity to another during their “free play” times. Often, these kids tend to get bored relatively quick and may switch from one toy to another without actually getting the most out of all of the toys and materials in their surroundings.
Don’t worry, it’s absolutely normal for them to do so. Children need to be taught structural play and to explore one single toy from all possible angles.
Think of it this way, when you go to a restaurant with a huge menu, don’t you get a little confused as to which meal to choose? Sometimes, having too much variety can be overwhelming. The same goes for children and playtime. When we simply allow them to have multiple toys in front of them, they become slightly overwhelmed by all of the choices and will have a hard time picking out a single toy and really making the best out of that particular item.
Here’s the deal, even the slightest little puzzle piece, plastic car or stuffed animal deserves your child’s attention so he can creatively think of all the possible ways he can use that specific toy. Children may need your nudge to actually do this. Try to spend some time mimicking what the child can do with that item and allow them to copy your behavior.
Stimulate your child development and learning
For instance, did you know that the variety of toys you choose can contribute significantly to your child’s development and learning?
Specific toys can enable our children to develop different skills such as:
- fine motor skills (puzzles, pegs)
- gross motor skills (mini trampolines, cozy trucks)
- awaken your child’s senses (play-dough, musical instruments, soft books).
Structured play can contribute to your child’s learning experience and development at home as they will get to experience the most out of a variety of different activities. You can categorize their toys and label them at home with your child and you will be surprised how quickly they will pick up on the categorization. Your child will gradually express more interest in each activity and with time, they will learn how to spend more and more time playing with one toy, giving you the opportunity to get some things done at home as well!
Remember that too much structure can also be overwhelming so try to balance between free play / monkeying around and a more structured environment to help sustain their attention and teach children how to concentrate. Many moms tend to worry about attention deficit disorders, even when their children are very young. Keep in mind that you can actually teach your children how to sustain their attention for different periods of time. Practice makes perfect!
Moderation is key and children will pick up on that very quickly! They’ll know how to behave at certain points of the day and will actually generalize this to the school system as well! For instance, when they have to conduct a specific activity in class, they’ll already be used to focusing on their given tasks since; and when they will have the time to run around the school yard, they will blow off enough steam to eventually focus again!
I hope you enjoyed these tips and remember that there is no “perfect parent” or “right way of parenting”! As long as you try your best, I would say you’re doing a great job!
Elena Andrioti provides therapy services to children, adolescents and adults in international communities. She was raised in the UAE and moved to Lebanon and the United Kingdom to pursue her studies and professional development in the field of Psychology and Health Services. She is also an active researcher in the field of Psychology and has published regional and international studies in peer reviewed academic journals. Elena is also a psychology instructor at the American University in Dubai.