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Why Boredom May Not Be So Bad

Elaine M. Gibson, a parent educator who coaches parents raising kids with learning disabilities and behavioral challenges, agrees with Plucker that "children need to practice being creative," that creativity is not only a trait from birth but a skill each child can develop. She also urges parents to follow Kathy W.'s example and refuse to play "The Bored Game."

"If a child is really looking for suggestions, he or she will take the first ideas and run off to play," says Gibson. But if the child wants to play 'The Bored Game', the child will find a reason not to like ANY and EVERY suggestion."

If the parent has offered a few suggestions in good faith and they are rejected, Gibson advises, the best thing to do is disengage with a comment such as, "I'm sure you'll think of something. You are a clever child." Some kids will even accuse a parent of not caring, but Gibson has observed that most will eventually tire of trying to manipulate a response from a parent who won't play along.

On the other hand, some children who are simply told to "find something to do" will choose to play video games from dawn to dusk, rising from the couch only for bathroom breaks and snack attacks. House rules on "screen time" are essential, experts agree. Most pediatricians and child development gurus suggest a maximum of one to two hours a day of total screen time, including TV, computers, video games and hand-held electronics such as Game Boy.

"Such pre-packaged, non-interactive activity does not keep people intellectually active over the long term," says Plucker. "Recent research strongly suggests that more involved intellectual activity may fight or delay various forms of dementia such as Alzheimer's disease."

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