As we navigate these unprecedented times, it seems that now is the time to teach and guide our children more than ever.
As parents, our days have become consumed with managing our households, balancing our own work with teaching our children, and talking to our families appropriately about what is going on, while also needing to keep our own emotions and anxieties in check. Talk about exhausting!
For children, however, spending more time at home means more opportunities to complain about being bored. Has boredom shown up in your child’s day?
Studies have shown that not only is boredom a good thing, but it is necessary for our children. Boredom actually encourages our children to find their imagination and creativity. Now that we have so much more downtime, this is even more important.
So many parents are concerned that during this time, children will become screen addicts. While that is a valid concern, we can use our screens to find new ideas for creativity. For example, our kids can look up so many things on YouTube and learn how to…
● Cook something
● Make a movie
● Create an art project
● Make paper mâché
● Set up an obstacle course
● Learn a new language
● Take physical activity indoors (or in the yard!)
● Find new card games for the family
And so much more!
Making a beautiful chart or wall hanging of what our kids can use as a go-to when boredom strikes (and it will), allows them to be free to look in the moment and not feel the pressure to think at that time. Remind them to look at the board they created and pick something that speaks to them.
It is so important that all beings have space to be creative. Creativity often shows up when we don’t schedule it, or command that it comes to us. Instead, it takes time, intention, and attention. We all have more time on our hands, and using this time to be creative can benefit us in so many wonderful ways.
Creativity is equally as important for us adults as it is for our children. In an article featured in Psychology Today, Dr. Cathy Malchiodi PhD, LPCC, LPAT, ATR-BC, REAT explains the importance of creativity as a wellness practice. She describes how engagement in creative endeavors has a “variety of outcomes including a decrease in depressive symptoms, an increase in positive emotions, reduction in stress responses, and, in some cases, even improvements in immune system functioning”. By encouraging creativity in our kids by demonstrating us engaging in it ourselves, we are also doing something great for our health!
How can we parents help our children be more creative? What do our kids need in order to allow the flow?
What talents and abilities do you see in your children that you think they enjoy?
This is where the gift is given.
How do you create space for creativity in your family?
What do you do for fun as a family that does not involve a screen and allows for creative thought and play?
One of my favorite games that we used to play when my kids were younger was the board game, Balderdash. This game allowed us to learn the definition of a word but at the same time be creative in trying to come up with a definition that others might believe was the right one. We used our brain and command of the wonderful English language. There was a lot of laughter too!
Creativity is crucial: As PBS’ “The Whole Child” describes, “Creative experiences can help children express and cope with their feelings”. As we continue adjusting to a new way of life that can be especially hard on our children, it is important that they have an outlet.
The Whole Child also explains that “Creativity also fosters mental growth in children by providing opportunities for trying out new ideas, and new ways of thinking and problem-solving”, adding that “Creative activities help acknowledge and celebrate children’s uniqueness and diversity as well as offer excellent opportunities to personalize our teaching and focus on each child”.
When we allow for the time and space for our children to tap into their creativity, we see remarkable things appear.
One of my clients was trying to engage her boys in creative play. This mom felt that her kids were always on screens. Working together, we created a plan to set up something that was intriguing for them and did not incorporate technology. Instead of making demands, this mom worked hard to create a place visible in their house for painting and coloring — creativity at its finest.
When space was done (nothing too elaborate, just visible) she was amazed at how much time her kids spent participating in activities with paint, stencils, crayons, pencils, etc.… tapping into the creative side of their brains.
How can you work to create boundaries as well as offer a “space” for creative thought, exploration and connection?
Come and join my Conscious Parents, Thriving Kids group on Facebook for more inspiration and support. https://www.facebook.com/groups/138844930006014/
Malchiodi, C. (2015, December 31). Creativity as a Wellness Practice. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/arts-and-health/201512/creativity-wellness-practice
The Whole Child – For Early Care Providers – Creativity and Play. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.pbs.org/wholechild/providers/play.html