Limiting Options Equals Creativity for Kids

When we made the move to downsize, my boys’ plethera of toys also diminished. Over the years I have noticed that the more choices the kids have regarding play or entertainment, the more I hear the words “I’m bored!”

Frustrated, I admit I usually return their complaint with something like “I have plenty for you to do! Dishes, laundry, dusting, ….” Or “It is not my job to make sure you are constantly entertained!”

One “house rule” I have been emphatic about in our new, small home is no TV or video games on weekdays. I have also gone so far as remove TV for the weekend if their chores are not complete. I know… I am such a mean mom!

When I hold my ground, and try to ignore my three boys’ non stop antics and joking, and refuse to list all the things they could do (aside from making gross noises)… Suddenly the most amazing thing happens:

All three of them, ages 12, 9 and 7 end up playing card games or Legos for hours on end! From mimiking Star Wars scenes, to playing cops and robbers or designing flying contraptions or monsters, the only thing I as a parent need to do is take away their access to a screen!

My conclusion: by limiting their options for “entertainment” and avoiding giving them the answer for what they can do, my three young men have not only displayed creativity, but problem solving, role playing, leadership and more.

How can you limit your child in order to expand his or her mind? I would love to hear about it.

Also, the Dec/Jan issue of Parenting -School Years has a great article called “Is Your Child Creative Enough” that reflects my thoughts on this topic!

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