Understanding Stimulation – Mommy I’m bored and why we cry at the movies

Updated: Apr 19

I recently heard a fascinating piece of insight from an anonymous caller on a radio show. The caller revealed that she found a particular T.V. advertisement, exceptionally emotional. The ad was apparently so powerful it left her feeling overwhelmed whenever the ad played.

Then one day, the ad played again but it didn’t have an impact on her. Naturally, she was shocked! Did she overcome it? Had she become so used to the ad that it didn’t affect her anymore? She jumped online to watch the ad and check her reactions. But no, the ad was still very overwhelming. But why then did the ad have no impact that one time?

She realised later, that she only heard the ad while reading an email. Only when she experienced all the sensory stimuli was the ad so powerful. The background music accompanied with the voice over and warm visuals was what made the ad so impactful!

As a mother, teacher, and psychology enthusiast, it should have been obvious! That’s why a speech in a movie can make you cry but the same speech typed in an email rarely has the same impact. It is also why teaching over video conferencing is more challenging. Human beings are sensory beings, constantly consuming multiple signals that make up an experience.

From the ages of two to five, children learn at a very rapid rate. During this time, what the child sees, smells, hears, tastes, and touches, helps in setting up important associations. That is why, a child needs a sensory stimulating space that allows them to learn by playing. However, just like their tired parents, children also need time to relax. If accommodating something like this seems difficult, that’s because normally, it would be.

Lots to Handle? Try a timetable

Structured schedules and routines can be highly beneficial. It gives children a sense of familiarity and security. It also allows parents the ability to organise the child’s activities in a manner where the child is not left under-stimulated. Properly balanced schedules help toddlers to:

  • understand how to plan

  • learn discipline and follow their plans

  • be flexible when needed

One too many an activity made the child cranky

Unfortunately, parents often feel that the child needs all the activities possible. Yoga, karate, violin class, chess, football, numbers class, reading class and coding class. The danger here is that too much of such planning can result in stressed-out children who constantly cry “Mommy, I’m bored” or “Mommy, I hate numbers!”

But why? Well picture this, in the morning, after a quick locomotion exercise like skipping or jumping in place, the child is now ready for something more stimulating. It’s the perfect time for a lesson in numbers or letters but not both.

Learning both subjects one after the other is far too heavy for them. Only after the age of five would they be strong and flexible enough to study both subjects consecutively.

What this means is that while planning, we need to blend activities carefully. The schedule needs to have the right mix of high energy activities like skipping and lower energy activities like crafts. It also needs a blend of academic and non-academic activities to avoid burnout.

A schedule like the one below allows the child to enjoy the activity, take a good break and pursue something else.

Day 1

Locomotion Exercises



Outdoor activity


Day 2






Day 3






Day 4

Music and Movement



Block play

Role play

It is highly recommended that children take their time to properly digest what they are learning. Not just asking questions and getting answers but thinking about possible answers, getting helpful hints to help them grow as thinkers.

A break a day, keeps boredom away

Everyone enjoys time to relax and have a bit of fun. But unlike adults who can always use a nap, children need free time to recharge. They use this time to explore and to discover their likes and dislikes. Breaks and free time give children the opportunity to:

  • play and develop abilities

  • rest, relax and rejuvenate

  • be creative and entertain themselves

Toddlers need these breaks to use their imagination, solve problems, and practice skills they’ve recently learned.

Summary: Balance is Key

A balanced diet leads to a healthy body. Similarly, striking a balanced combination of high and low energy activities while appropriately scheduling academic and non-academic activities, allows children to transition gradually and perform at their best. Incorporating breaks into a child’s daily plan, enables them to learn to entertain and occupy themselves. It lets them explore in their own way and at their own pace. All of this together, fosters their imagination and helps them become the innovative creators we admire.

Guest Blog by: Prriety Gosalia

Chief Content Officer, Early Years, Navneet Education Limited

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