Skip to content


April 23, 2013

Friday April 19th.  Lockdown.  Don’t go outside.  Don’t go to school.  Don’t go to work.  My 4 year old: “why can’t we go outside mommy?”  My reply: “There’s a bad man out there”.  I live in Boston.

A lockdown day is much like a blizzard day if you’re a mother of three small children: ARRRRRGH!  Every mother I know described the extreme efforts required to keep pre-schoolers occupied for an entire 12 hour period in one place.  My kids played with playdough twice.  Painted twice.  Candyland ditto.  Uno also.  Baking, check.  And yes, I’ll admit, a little screen time with my dear friend Curious George.  My oldest child has recently learned what “bored” means.

The thing is, “bored” is good.   Or it can be.  An article by David Dobbs in the science section of the New York Times today described a series of experiments on the way children think and play.  Up until about age 4 or 5 children don’t act on prior biases or assumptions of how things are supposed to work.  Unsupervised, unscripted play lets children experiment, trying things in unconventional ways that adults would never think of.  We parents don’t like to be bored and so we assume that our children should be spared boredom at all costs.  So we frantically invent crafts and buy games and toys and engage in play with our children in an attempt to stave off this human condition.

Mr. Dobbs says that studies suggest that free play is good for all sorts of reasons, all of which are catnip to parents: resilience, creativity, flexibility, social understanding, emotional and cognitive control, resistance to stress and anxiety.  Jeeze, who wouldn’t want all those things for their kids?  I can’t cite you these studies, but if the NYT says it it must be true…

Instead of “What should we do today?” once in a while I might say to my kids “Go play”.  They’ll hate it for awhile.  I am the source of all things amusing and food-related after all.  But they’ll gain awesome skills.


From → Motherhood

One Comment
  1. I nominated you for the Liebster Award! Please check out my post for the details:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

The Ideal Violinist

By Bayla Keyes

Eclectic Voices

Fiction, Monologues, Plays & More

Competing Diagnoses

How Americans talk about health care reform

Navigating Healthcare - Patient Safety and Personal Healthcare Management

A Guide to navigating Healthcare for parents, children and spouses who are concerned with managing their health and the health of their family

Children's Book Reviews


Dr. Vineet Arora's thoughts on medical training, patient care, healthcare policy, with tips for trainees

Wright on Health

Making complex issues in health policy and health services research accessible to all...

Dr John M

cardiac electrophysiologist, cyclist, learner

Navigating the healthcare system


Navigating the healthcare system

Whole Mama

Navigating the healthcare system

medicine for real

Navigating the healthcare system

%d bloggers like this: