It’s summertime, and your kids are complaining that they’re bored — a sound as familiar as music coming from the neighborhood ice cream truck. We used to say the same thing to our own parents, before we gave up, and settled down to imagine the clouds as animal shapes, create a chalk mural on the sidewalk, or check out what the kid next door was doing. Boredom isn’t new, but in our over-scheduled, competitive, tech-driven culture, it’s gotten a bad rap, according to pediatric health professionals, who praise the benefits of kids having to learn how to amuse themselves. Anne Farrar-Anton, M.D., a pediatric neuropsychologist at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital, says that a child’s activities need not go on for more than an hour at a stretch and that kids need a variety of activities.
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