You’ve never heard of SBT? Nope, it’s not a new therapy! It’s Scheduled Boredom Time. Here’s why it’s important.
Ask any Mom (or any kid!) out there, being bored is the worst! Polling the mothers, bored means annoying siblings, kvetching, and the dreaded, ‘There’s nothing to do!’ And polling the kids, bored is a feeling that’s hard to put their finger on, but just doesn’t feel good. Here’s the thing though: being bored is a chance to develop new skills, learn how to self-entertain (think big kid self-soothe), and flex their problem-solving and creativity muscles. If Mommy’s always ready with a solution, the child never has a chance to learn those skills. Read more about that here!
For some kids, the popular answers mothers give to the ever-popular ‘Mommy, I’m boooored!’ are enough to encourage them to find something to do. (I polled the team, some of my favorites were ‘I’m not the entertainment system!,’ and ‘I’m also bored!’) Those kids just sometimes need a reminder and then they can find a book, toy, run outside, or do whatever they need to do to keep themselves busy.
For some kids though, finding that thing to do isn’t quite as easy. And when they can’t solve their own boredom, well, it can be tough on the whole family. After one too many ‘I’m bored’s that weren’t solved using traditional parenting methods, I knew we had to change something. I spoke about it to a friend, who gave me a great idea from her sister (my favorite type of advice!). I tweaked it to fit my family, and SBT was born.
Scheduled Boredom Time (called SBT for short, because acronyms make everything more fun) is when everyone in the household has to find something to do independently. It lasts for a finite amount of time: say, 20 minutes on the clock or until dinner is on the table. And because it’s more structured than just Mommy responding ‘Boredom is an opportunity!,’ after some practice, even the kids who have a hard time being bored are able to rise to the occasion.
If you have a child that may not be able to entertain themselves even for that finite amount of time, you can help them prepare beforehand! Explain that SBT’s going to start in 5 minutes, and ask how you can support them in finding something to do. Helping them out by brainstorming ideas together, or coming up with a list of things to do that they can consult will only help them gain those conquer-your-boredom skills.
And once everyone’s got the hang of it, grab a coffee and hide in your room! After all, SBT only lasts so long. You deserve it!