WHEN we were kids, the long summer holidays saw us kicking around the village.

We would lazily shift from place to place - the water splash, the bus stop or the benches outside the village hall.

Sometimes we would make our way to a place known locally as ‘the swings’, where a few tarzis - long ropes like Tarzan used, for those not in the know - hung from tall trees beside the beck.

When we grew bored we would head somewhere else - the cricket field or the back of the pub, and plonk ourselves down there for an hour or two. We were regularly bored. Throughout those six weeks we were bored more times than we weren’t.

Now kids’ summer holiday boredom has become the subject of research, which pinpoints Saturday August 12 as the day when kids reach peak school holiday boredom.

A study of 1,200 parents with children aged five to 16 found that more than half of parents (56 per cent) said their children often expressed boredom over the school summer holidays. Many parents (39 per cent) expect this to be at its worst on August 12, when the novelty of not being at school has worn off.

Generally, parents dread the summer break and anticipate they will quickly run out of things to do. According to the survey, commissioned by entertainment provider Layered Reality, the majority of parents feel overwhelmed at the prospect of keeping their children occupied.

There's an easy solution: don't. Parents need not run themselves ragged trying to keep youngsters amused. Being bored is good for kids. Being bored is part of growing up. Being bored leads to children using their imagination, finding things to do themselves and, I am sure, gaining greater satisfaction than being force-fed activities all day long.

When we were growing up we would make half-hearted attempts to crack the boredom. We would dare each other to walk across the pipe that straddled the beck. Many a time someone would fall in, which led to much hilarity and a dripping walk back home. We would rummage in the litter bins on the high street for Lowcocks' pop bottles to take back to the shop for the deposit, and we would jump from sleeper to sleeper on the disused railway track. It was all mindless stuff, but it passed the time.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Kids can amuse themselves. Picture: PixabayKids can amuse themselves. Picture: Pixabay

Sometimes we did get involved in proper activities: tennis at the local courts, bike rides, playing cricket in our back garden - and apologising for broken windows. But we did these things off our own back and were never supervised.

At other times we just hung out doing not very much. I don’t remember my or anyone else’s parents showing the remotest interest in how we were entertained.

From the age of about seven summer holidays meant an early morning knock on the door from a friend: “Is your Helen in?” My parents wouldn’t see me until lunchtime (we called it dinner but to avoid confusion…), then afterwards I’d be off again until tea, then out again until dusk.

Now, with over-protective parenting - to some extent I’m guilty of it myself - parents micro-manage their children, ferrying them around and keeping them occupied.

But even if you are with your children all day, they need time when they are not doing anything. They don’t need wall-to-wall activities. Neither should they be allowed to sit gaming for hours as many kids do.

There needs to be some time when children are doing not very much: being bored. If your kids say they’re bored, ignore them and let them find their own way out of it.