I Hate When Kids Whine “I’m Bored”

Nanny Confessions: Sometimes Kids Have to Be Bored to Stimulate Themselves

I am reading A Spoonful of Sugar: A Nanny’s Story by Brenda Ashford and she explains that since she was born in the 1920s her days weren’t filled with television, computer games, and constant activities, which taught her to use her imagination to play. She writes that “sometimes children need to be bored in order to stimulate themselves.”

I confess, I think that nannies that stick kids in front of the TV or video games all day are cop-outs. No parents hires a nanny to just let the kids be couch potatoes.

I also confess, I hate when kids whine, “I’m bored.” I have learned that the older children in my care constantly whine that they are bored as an attempt to play video games.

Dr. Paul Coleman author of How to Say It to Your Kids explains that “All kids whine occasionally. Those who whine more have been rewarded for it.” So, if nannies hear, “I’m bored” too often, nannies may have to change their response to the whining.

A recent Wall Street Journal article says caregivers should use boredom as an opportunity to encourage children to be self-starters. A neurologist in the article explains, “Children need to figure out, ‘OK, this is uncomfortable. I need to do something about it,’ ” she says.

If the kids are whining a lot and they cannot motivate themselves, nannies should also be prepared to encourage the kids to be involved in imaginative play, learning, and exercise. Productive play opportunities are limitless. Kids love reading, playing dress up, riding bicycles and tricycles, building things, going to the playground, playing sports, doing arts and crafts, cooking, and so much more.

So, don’t be manipulated and reward kids when they whine, “I’m bored.” Use it as an opportunity to plan age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate social, physical, cognitive, and psychological care.


A Spoonful of Sugar: A Nanny’s Story by Brenda Ashford

How to Say It to Your Kids by Paul Coleman

Wall Street Journal


  1. I am always looking for activities for my nb1

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