Friday, July 13, 2012

The Biblical Cure for "Bored" Children

There is something sweeping across America, the home and era of the most amusements in the entire world, and it is affecting many children today. It is called boredom. Interestingly enough, the word as we know it is not found in the Webster's 1828 Dictionary though now it is daily vocabulary for children in many homes.

Busy Hours

Can you imagine the pioneer children every saying that they were "bored"?

Why?... probably because they had many responsibilies and chores. When they finally did have free time, they treasured it and knew exactly what to do with it.

"Dost thou love life?
Then do not squander time,
for that's the stuff life is made of."
~ Benjamin Franklin

Afternoon Games

Boredom can be a huge hinderance in life as it can cultivate negative traits such as idleness and laziness which breeds other problems within themselves.

"Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep;
and an idle soul shall suffer hunger."
~ Proverbs 19:15

Happy Hours

The constant feeling of boredom in your children now can grow into discontentment later on in life. There is danger that they will constantly be seeking "high" thrills at every turn and will be disappointed and "bored" with the "normal" activities a responsible adult assumes. They need to learn to be content in their present situation. 

"He who loves pleasure will be a poor man…"
~ Proverbs 21:17a

Serving others in need is an excellent way to instill appreciation for their circumstances while being a laborer for the Lord, showing them that giving pleasure to those in hardship is a finer feeling than seeking it for themselves. How can one ever be bored with so many people who require help?

Feeding the Rabbits

Boredom can also give birth to sluaggardness. Is my child too lazy to figure out what to do with their free time? Do they need to constantly be entertained by someone or something? Encourage them to be industrious by teaching handicrafts and skills. We want to nurture our offspring to become the adults who will use their talents and double them for the Lord (Matthew 25:14-29).

"He who has a slack hand becomes poor,
But the hand of the diligent makes rich."
~ Proverbs 10:4

The Model Aeroplane

When a child is old enough to say they are "bored" and use it in the right context, then they are definately old enough to amuse themselves. This may sound like tough stuff but we call it love in this home.

I hope this doesn't sound harsh but it is a reality in this entertainment based society we live in. Flashing lights, loud music and flickering electronics are almost too much eye candy for the young mind to absorb and not be impacted by. Many times, if we just simplify our environment, the children will flourish with activities as they did in yesteryears. Junk the video games and remote control and provide an area with paints, legos, colored pencils, magnifying glasses, crafts, blocks, paper projects and anything else that children can manipulate with their hands and cultivate creativity with in their minds.

“In works of labour, or of skill, 
I would be busy too; 
For Satan finds some mischief still 
For idle hands to do.” 
~ Isaac Watts

The Young Dress Makers

The television is not industry. Limit time in front of that "boredom box" or forego it all together. All it does it nurture the need for constant excitement in your children. Encourage a richer life for your dear ones by partaking in activities portrayed in these paintings. This is what children used to do in the past and they were so happy to do it!

Playing Skittles

My husband was brought up on a dairy (outside the United States) and had to wake up at 4:30 every morning to help feed and milk the cows (Did I mention he was 5 years old? With all the new rules out there, his parents could have gotten jail time in todays society!). When finished, he would dress, go to school, come home, and do more chores. When there was a break in his day, he definately knew what to do with it (and there was no television, computer or electronics in the home)! No one needed to teach him how to enjoy himself.

Playing School

I was brought up in an opposite environment, as a latch-key kid in the city. When we got home, we ran outside and thought up ways to engage the neighborhood children. We climbed trees, attempted to make forts in them, swung on rope swings and felt adventurous when trying to retrieve our ball from the neighbor's back yard who had a growling dog. No one was home to entertain us or teach us to have fun. There was no money to amuse us with dazzling electronics but we were never "bored".

Delicate Patient

This new phenomenon of boredom is hard to comprehend when so much is available today. Our child dared to breathe the words once after hearing a friend's older brother say it at their house. However, it has never been said since because of the biblical solution to this situation...

Making a Doll's House

The answer is W O R K...

Stack firewood, wash dishes, clean closets, mow the lawn, rake the leaves, dust furniture, vacuum the house, organize the garage, sweep the porch, fold clothes, hang clothes out to dry, and so forth…

"And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business,
and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you…"
~ 1 Thessalonians 4:11

The Scrap Book

W O R K works. When they are "bored", give them chores. I guarantee you will never hear the word "bored" in your home again. We even take it a step further (call us cruel) for when we even see our child looking lazy, we assign work. In order to avoid the threat of labor, you will find that they quickly are able to employ themselves. It can be anything from reading and feeding the mind to working with their hands or simply playing outside. Anything but being idle!

"And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house;
and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not."
~ 1 Timothy 5:13

Tea Party

I think this mentality of complete leisure for children was developed because our forefathers worked so hard trying to establish themselves. They felt they lost out on their childhood and did not want their children to be deprived. However, now the pendulum has swung in the other direction and our children are deprived of good, old fashioned work and the blessing it brings. A balance is crucial for a healthy and harmonious development of character.

The Toy Carriage

Play time should be a natural occuring thing that the child itself can create for his or herself. Encourage wholesome and hands on recreation. We are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28) and should teach our children to be purposeful with their time in the younger years in order to instill godly habits and a productive life for their future years as adults.

"Even a child is known by his deeds,
Whether what he does is pure and right."
~ Proverbs 20:11

Household Chores

"For even when we were with you, this we commanded you,
that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly,
working not at all, but are busybodies.

Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ,
that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread."

~ 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12


  1. EXCELLENT POST! I would love for you to share this on my Tuesday link-up "Loving Our Children". Coming from Far Above Rubies link-up.

    1. Thank you for the invitation :) I will do that. Thanks for visiting ~ JES

  2. I loved this post and all of the scripture and paintings. I have been trying to instill in my children these qualities but fail miserably sometimes because of my health. I am going to try to teach them these vereses. Come by and see us on the blog. We would love to hear frome you. I found you from the link up. I am your newest follower.

    1. Thank you :) I will have to make a visit over.

  3. So well said and excellent food for thought. Thank you for sharing! ~Lisa

    1. Thank you for stopping by and commenting :)

  4. I loved this post. We just moved to a tiny apartment and have no yard to play in or space to store their toys. They have only one tub of toys. I have felt discouraged that my children needed more toys to occupy their time and have been wishing for a yard. Thank you for all the paintings and scripture. I am going to try to keep us all from idleness with work and crafts now and be content with what we do have. Thanks!

    1. Thanks for sharing! I don't remember have much toys as a child but let me tell you, the imagination makes up for everything!!! As far as a yard goes, walks to the local park will be a great treat and give the children something to look forward to when they have been "good" all week :)

  5. Oh, dear JES,
    It is the truth! Work IS the answer. I just found Harry Brookers's artwork through a friend (she has 'Narration' on her schoolroom wall) and had similar thoughts of the use in a post on how to engage our children to prevent boredom...our minds are running on the same track. I will have to wait until winter to finish it now, but this is EXCELLENT :) I am so glad for you as a sister in Christ!

    1. Hi Jacqueline :)

      There were so many paintings by Harry Brooker depicting childhood pleasures that it was hard to not include them all! I can't wait to see what you do with them and I thank you for the confirmation to this topic. I was hesitant to post it in the first place (but I am very passionate about this subject so it was hard NOT posting it as well)...

  6. Thank you for this wonderful post. My children all know never to tell me they are "bored", because the use of that word automatically gives them an extra chore to do!

    Once I had a young man visiting with us (part of the wedding party for my daughter's wedding) and he made the mistake of telling me he was bored--so I handed him a bottle of window cleaner and some rags. He still tells that story, and says he vows never to visit at my house again :)

    1. Love it :) That is EXACTLY my thoughts! It is so nice to hear! My sentiments exactly :)

  7. I loved this! My kids (7, 4, 3) are learning that saying their bored gets them nothing, except outside!

    1. WONDERFUL!!! The perfect solution! Thanks for sharing :)

  8. Wow, what a fabulous post, dear JES! I truly appreciate your words of wisdom. We don't have a TV or movies to watch on the computer and I think that has helped in our home because my son enjoys the outdoors and likes to help mommy cook :) I think you are right, we would not have heard kids back in the day say they were bored. Again, thank you for this post! I will have to print it out :)

    Hugs and blessings!

    1. So refreshing to hear this! Thank YOU for sharing :)

  9. This is a brilliant post and such beautiful accompanying pictures! We never dated say we were bored as kids, because our parents always had a job waiting at the end of that complaint. Kids need work to develop so many skills including gaining confidence in their own abilities to conquer a task and to try something new. Too many kids today have no responsibilities, know how to do nothing, and enter adulthood with absolutely no life skills. It's a tragedy.They end up dependant upon mom and dad or the taxpayer and have no self respect or ability to get a job. Excellent post.

  10. This is such a great post! Something that I've always felt in my heart...but then when I looked around and saw other families not assigning WORK to their children, and making sure that each of them had their own tablet/iPad, I started to wonder if I was too harsh? Too old fashioned? And what you mentioned about your husband's parents getting potential jail time if they put their 5 year old to work these days. So true! And I think it's bogus. But I've had friends have CPS called on them for much less. It's sad.

    I don't give my children work because I need or want slave labor. I do it because I value them and their God given abilities too much to let it all waste away in front of a screen. And I also consider it a gift to their future spouses (if the Lord wills it) that they'll hopefully all leave my house knowing how to clean a bathroom, cook a decent meal,wash laundry, and maybe even grow some veggies. :)

    1. Absolutely! And if you read this article, you will not feel bad ever ~~

      Take care, JES :)

  11. This is exciting and interesting list here Jes. I remember I used to play school with my sisters and sometimes play shop owners. Haha! You brought back those memories.
    Many Blessings to you.

  12. That's exactly how I handle boredom here! If a child tells me he's bored, I assign a chore. So I don't hear it very often.

    Otherwise, I've made it very clear that their boredom is not my problem. They need to learn how to be bored, what to do with themselves when they get that way, and I find that they are better and more creative for it!

  13. Beautiful message and beautiful words. I found this concept much easier when my kids were younger. Admittedly, they do spend more time on their devices now, however, they have found ways to be productive even with those. My oldest son taught himself to play the piano, composed music, and used SoundCloud as an outlet. My middle son likes to make YouTube videos, and my daughter would spend hours researching all about dogs until we finally rescued one. :)

  14. Great article. When my children say they are bored, they have 5 minutes to find something to do or I give them something to do. (chores) It works. They rarely say it.

    1. Love that Laura!!!! Thank you for sharing!! :)