It’s amazing what young people can think of when they’re bored

Mark Cottingham, principal at Shirebrook Academy
Mark Cottingham, principal at Shirebrook Academy

The summer holidays are nearly upon us and my hope for our students is that, in amongst enjoying the ice creams, the beach and the endless sunny hours, they have enough time to get bored, writes Mark Cottingham, principal at Shirebrook Academy.

No, it’s not a very summery message, but the feeling of being bored is, in my opinion, a very underrated experience that is being lost in today’s entertainment-rich world.

I know it’s not easy having to deal with a child who complains that they’ve got nothing to do and that parents naturally want to lay on a fun activity in order.

However, I also hope that parents resist this temptation and tell them what I was told when I was in that situation at that age – to go and find something to do.

Wisdom tells grown-ups that very often the activities you end up doing something to do are richer and more rewarding than those that are presented to you.

Necessity is the mother of invention and so when children are bored they invent things, just as people do when they have a problem to solve.

They create stories and games for themselves to fill the empty hours, allowing their imagination to run free.

Studies have shown that a period of boredom is often a precursor to greater creativity than a period

of activity is, as boredom prompts our brains to switch to a state where the sole focus is to find something to stimulate them, with incredible results.

The problem with today’s technology is that it is always there to eliminate boredom.

Hopefully, during this holiday, our students will get a chance to be bored and it will lead to creativity they may never have believed existed.

And, as we know, being creative is a great way of expressing your individuality, which can be way better than your wellbeing than anything YouTube can provide.