Children need to learn how to beat boredom, says Nicky Morgan
Rather than filling every moment of their children’s lives parents should tell their children to ‘go away’ and entertain themselves, the Education Secretary says
Parents should stop filling their children’s lives with extra curricular activities and instead allow them to be bored and to make their own fun, the Education Secretary has said.
In an interview with House magazine she said that children should learn to entertain themselves because it is an “important skill” in life.
She said: “We can always find the parent who does that and then there will be parents at the other end of the spectrum too.I think extra-curricular things are important.
“But I do think that, speaking as a mum, when my son says ‘I’m bored’, I say ‘Well, just go away and find something to do, you’ve got lots of toys, lots of things there’. And then suddenly I will find that my son is busy, has dragged something out, he’s amusing himself, and I think that there is an element of not needing every moment in the day to be filled. I think it’s an important skill to be learned.
“If we say to him ‘just go and do something’, it’s amazing how much the Lego will come out, or Playmobil, whatever it might be, and actually it’s lovely then to see him, he’s busy building things, Hot Wheels tracks.”
She said that she has introduced “screen bans” to stop her children spending too much time playing with gadgets.
She said: “Alex (her seven-year-old son) woke us up at half past five. And as a result he lost gadget time for the rest of the day. He was deeply unimpressed by that. We had a little negotiation about whether ‘gadget time’ meant ‘TV and screen time’.
“Because of the growth of tablets and everything else and the fact that children are using them younger – which is many ways a good thing, they are great learning tools – I think it’s all kinds of new challenges. I guess our parents had ‘TV time’, we had the same kind of issue, but I do think it’s one of those things to grapple with.”