NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Parents work hard to keep their children active when they’re home on summer vacation, but a recent study finds boredom could lead to better creativity.

Making kids handle boredom may prove to be a family success story, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reports.

“I like to be bored because I can come up with ideas,” 7-year-old Mila Jarocki told McLogan.

Mila and her younger sister wonder if their parents were bored as kids, and what they did about it.

“They even ask us if we ever had imaginary friends. It’s crazy that they’re trying to see what we were like when we were children,” said Mila’s dad Rob Jarocki.

Rob and his wife Jill call their parenting “old school.”

“They need to be bored sometimes. I think there is too much of the iPad and the TV,” said Jill.

Multiple new studies say they’re right, McLogan reported. Daydreaming with nothing to do challenges the imagination and sparks creativity. According to the American Psychological Association, boredom makes kids more motivated and improves children’s minds and well-being.

“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,” said Massapequa teacher Regina Restivo.

Boredom makes kids more interesting and improves creativity, McLogan reported.

“Boredom is our brain’s way of searching for interesting, stimulating activity,” said psychiatrist Dr. Sue Varma. “And if we can’t find it in the external environment, we are going to create it.”

“We don’t need any of that. We can play in the water, and use this, a metal detector. There’s so many thing you can do at the beach without electronics,” said 11-year-old Tom Matringa.

In CBS2’s sampling of parents at Eisenhower Park on Long Island, all said they were trying to allow fewer minutes of screen time so children will learn how to be alone and productive and have fun without.

But it’s not always easy.

“Sometimes I even find myself sitting with them and saying, ‘Do you want to watch a show?’ But I have to tell myself, no, let them, you know, they’ll play something on their own,” one mom said.

“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 said.

Experts say parents should stop juggling, helicoptering and lawnmowering. Take some time for yourself and let your kids be bored for a while. It might be the best thing you can do for them.

Comments (2)
  1. Ferde Grofe says:

    Back in the eighties, when my kids would say “Dad, I’m bored” I would respond “Good!” When They challenged my response I would say “If you are bored, you will do something you might not otherwise do — like read a book.” I am so proud of them. They have achieved a lot, and are, intrinsically, good persons.

  2. Boredom may be the mother of imagination

    “Leisure is the mother of invention” – Mortimer Adler

    “Failure is the mother of invention” – Henry Petroski

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