Take A 5-Minute Creativity Break with Your Kids
May 11, 2020
We are living through crazy times, with no playbook on how to get through, let alone teach or guide our children. Most adults I know are barely hanging on, and, even if things slowly start to open up, it’s not like life will get easier. I find myself spinning about the future — consuming media at a rapid rate, having buzzy phone calls with friends trying to guess what might happen next: What will the new school year bring? When will businesses reopen? Will we go back into shutdown mode?
Of course, our children are reading all of that stress — soaking it up like sponges. They themselves are worried and think everything is weird, and then they look at us, the adults, and see the SAME thing. So, to avoid giving a double whammy to their poor little nervous systems, we need to be fully present with them. Giving kids a sense of stability is more important now than ever.
One way to be fully present is to take a 5-minute creativity break every day. Here are four ideas using creativity to help you stay present with your child:
- Sing and Dance. Play your favorite songs and belt your heart out in the kitchen while rocking out with your kids. Fact: it is impossible to read the New York TImes while you are belting “Into the Unknown” with your four-year-old.
- Paint and Tell a Story. Find 20 rocks and paint little pictures on the rocks. These pictures could be anything from animals to vehicles to castles. Then put the rocks in a bag and tell a story one person at a time using the pictures as your prompt. Pro tip: stickers can work just as well as paint.
- Set a Calming Mood. Turn off all the lights in a room, light some candles, snuggle in with your kids in a soft blanket, and listen to a story on a podcast or app…Calm has some great ones. “Circle Round” is another of our favorites. Just resist the temptation to scroll Facebook while listening!
- Mirror. Sit down criss-cross applesauce across from your child, and challenge each other to be as still as possible. But any TINY LITTLE movement the other person notices, they get to copy, just like a mirror, and then the other person can copy it back, etc., etc., until I guarantee you will both be rolling on the floor laughing!
Hope these 5-minute moments of presence help you get through the last few weeks of school and ease your way into summer.
Originally published in the Piedmont Post on May 11, 2020
Nina Auslander is the executive artistic director of Bay Area Children’s Theatre.