How Can I Help My ADHD Child That Always Complains Of Boredom?

by | Nov 26, 2019

“I’m bored,” says the child.

Every parent in the world wants to roll their eyes when their child says this. The parent wishes that they had time in their own day to actually be bored!

Boredom comes in many forms. Sometimes children with ADHD are bored because they have “nothing to do”. Other times, these highly active children are bored because they aren’t engaged in the activity that they are expected to participate in. Family movie night isn’t as much fun when one child cannot stop complaining.

As adults we know that boredom can be managed by controlling how we think. This ability is a critical skill for people of all ages. We accept our down time as a valid way that fuels our productive work time. This is what we need our children with ADHD to experience.


Boredom is a physiologic state that occurs when the sensory nerves (that send information to the brain) become lulled into a state of “nerve accommodation.” The nerves have actually become so accustomed to the experience that it is filtered out, they accommodate to the stimuli. Basically, it means that the nerves are so used to it, they don’t even feel it any more.

During family movie night while everyone is sitting together the child with ADHD is watching the same movie as the rest of the family, but they become accommodated to it. They may become restless and try to arouse their nervous system (amuse themselves) by any means.

If the movie didn’t happen to hold your full attention, you might pick up your crochet project or a crossword puzzle. The child with ADHD would more likely start to fidget and to tease or interrupt other’s watching time. 


Children with ADHD need to understand how to manage their own time in a productive and fulfilling manner. Being bored is okay. The brain needs some down time to make space for new and creative thinking.

Often this state of non-activity is marginalized. In fact, great creative ideas come out of these powerful periods of human reflection. We want to create periods of time when the mind can rest and periods of time when the mind needs to flow. We want this for our children, too.

Our role as the parents, educators and caregivers of children involves a responsibility to teach children how to manage their own energy level. Not just completing tasks and improving in competence, children must also be able to manage their own need for rest from intense activity and the need to create a stimulating environment to promote flow.

As adults, we know when and how to step back, take a break, try a new approach to an old problem, let it go, and come back to it later. These are all survival skills we have developed.


Deal with your child’s complaints of being bored up front.

Give them a list of to do’s that include a range of brain-body activities.

Your list may look like the following:

1.)imaginary play outside

2.)being bored

3.)sweep the front porch and

4.)take the trash out.

The message to your child is that being bored is okay, in fact, it’s on the to-do list as it’s bound to happen anyway. 

Your child’s boredom presents an opportunity for them to learn how to manage their thinking.

For more information on children with ADHD and other unique learners, consider purchasing my book I wrote on this topic called Unique Learner Solutions. It is available through this website or on

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