What Will You Do When Your Gifted Child Says They’re Bored?

Effective Ways to Deal with Boredom for Your Gifted Child

You might not believe that a gifted child could get bored.  Compared to any pre-Millenial upbringing,  the access to endless activities, books, and/or electronic devices should make boredom extinct. On the other hand, it may be that abundance itself that is causing their discontent.

That is because many Gen Z and Gen Alpha gifted children are used to being passively entertained and actively micro-managed. With so much screen time, French lessons, and math camps, they have little experience with figuring out how to engage themselves when they do have a little free time.

As a parent, you might be tempted to fix things for them.  That can backfire because they will not learn how to manage their time and tasks themselves.

Instead, try these tips when your gifted child says they’re bored.

Give Your Gifted Child More Attention

Sometimes complaints about boredom are actually a sign that your gifted child needs more “intentional” attention. If they lack a mentor AND your engagement, use this as your time to reconnect.

Try these strategies to give your gifted child more attention, even when you’re busy:

  1. Demonstrate affection. Physical touch has powerful effects and can even cause positive changes in the brain. Hug your gifted child regularly.
  2. Listen closely. Let your gifted child know you’re interested in what they have to say. Take a walk together and give them your full attention. Ask relevant questions and share your own experiences.
  3. Create family rituals. Schedule family dinners at least once a week where you can focus on conversation and healthy eating. For smaller gifted children, make bedtime fun by reading stories and singing songs.
  4. Talk with the teacher. Find out if their boredom extends to other classes. Discuss the situation with your gifted child to find out what’s going on. They could be ahead of their class or struggling to keep their frustrated emotions in check.

 

Help Your Gifted Child Entertain Themselves

Most of the time, independent learning and self-reliance eliminate boredom. When children are empowered to entertain themselves, they often chose challenging and calming activities.  This is a healthy part of their development.  While their overall achievements will depend on their own efforts, you can provide loving guidance and support.

Try these ideas:

  1. Pause first. Give your gifted child a chance to come up with their own solutions to boredom. After about 3-5 minutes, listen to their solutions and take initiative to support or revise their ideas.
  2. Brainstorm together. Come up with a list of ideas and activities that match your gifted child’s interests. Include some things that they will enjoy doing alone.
  3. Assist with logistics. While your gifted child takes the lead with figuring out how to become more engaged, there is still plenty for you to do. Explain how to find helpful resources, teach them how to organize their thoughts, and be their chauffeur if they need a ride.
  4. Ask for help. One of the most effective ways to gain your gifted child’s cooperation is to let them know you need their help. Invite them to join you in preparing dinner or tending the garden.
  5. Encourage reading. When a gifted child engages in reading, boredom goes out the window. Visit your local library and keep lots of reading materials around your house. Start a neighborhood book club with other gifted children and parents.
  6. Rest and relax. It’s easy to feel pressured to always be doing something. Show your gifted child the value of taking time to refresh and restore.
  7. Practice meditation together. Listen to music without doing anything else at the same time. You’ll be training your gifted child to become more mindful and less vulnerable to boredom.

 

Unstructured time is your gifted child’s opportunity to engage their creativity and learn important time management and organizational skills. If you can empathize with their boredom and point them in a positive direction, you’ll be helping them to grow up to be a happy and productive adult.

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