Let's face it. 2020 has been hard. REALLY, REALLY hard! And as a parent, I am struggling. I'm juggling more than usual and I'm dropping things left and right. I'm working from home while monitoring my girls' schoolwork, zoom meetings, and ever-evolving online/virtual/hybrid schedules. Have I mentioned that I'm basically homeschooling my 6th grader? I'm also checking in with my 4th grader more frequently to assess her anxiety and stress levels which, by the way, only adds to my own anxiety and stress levels. I'm trying my best to make sure my girls stay connected with friends, even if it's on Facebook Messenger or Fortnite, and I'm constantly worried about everyone's mental well being and physical safety.
Sound familiar? No wonder we are all on the verge of collapse!
Last week I listened to an episode of The Holderness Family Podcast called "Don't Make 2019 Goals" with Dr. Emily King. Dr. Emily is a licensed psychologist who works with schools, teachers, parents, and children. Her recent Instagram post (below) quickly went viral a few weeks back:
For me, one of the biggest takeaways from the podcast was figuring out how to adjust our goals in an effort to maintain health, connection, and safety in 2020. In 2019, we had more resources and systems in place. We were on autopilot. So how do we "reboot" ourselves, plug ourselves back in, and adjust our goals for 2020? In our family, a reboot has meant that we've decided to stop worrying so much about time constraints, the long list of things to do, and "2019"school goals and expectations. School days have become more organic and open-ended. My girls spend a lot of time thinking, making, tinkering, painting, and creating. They play together more often, dive deeper into the things that are of interest to them, and are learning life skills that don't get taught in school (hello laundry, dishes, and wood shop with dad). And yes, they are probably spending too much time on screens, but we've decided to pick our battles.
But in the podcast, Dr. Emily also reminds us that when we are stressed it's helpful to stop, pause, and reflect. So when my 4th grader in particular is having a stressful day, we literally stop everything and do one of two things: we go on a bike ride or we make art. Both activities have a unique way of opening up her heart and getting her to share. In taking the time to connect, she talks more freely about what's bothering her and her frustrations. Safety? Check. Connection? Check. Mental Wellness? Check!
It's in this process of rebooting our 2019-selves where creativity and creative thinking have come into play.
Creative thinking is the ability to find new alternatives that solve a problem. So basically all we've been doing for the past 6 months is thinking creatively. We've quite literally had to find new ways to connect with friends and family, manage our children's education from home, move our bodies, and stay physically safe all while maintaining everyone's mental health and our own sanity. 2020 is the year of creative thinking!
So with all of the juggling, how do we find time to create in 2020?
Carve out 20-30 minutes to create. It could be a few times a week during lunch, a mid-day break, after school, or every Saturday morning. Be intentional about this time and let your child know that this creative time is valued and important. Don't skip it.
Set out open-ended invitations to create. Surprise your child by putting out a few of his favorite art materials (paper, watercolor, sharpies, and oil pastels). Your set-up doesn't have to be extravagant or fancy, and we promise it will only take a few minutes. You don't need rules, templates, how to videos, or directions. Offer the materials and then step back. The learning and creative thinking lies in leaving it open-ended.
Add it to YOUR schedule. Make this time even more special by adding it to your own weekly calendar. Finding time to create alongside your child will not only bring her joy but it will also provide that much needed connection. And if you're juggling all the things, we know you are also in dire need of some down time too. Write it down and make it a commitment.
How have you and your family made time for creativity and creative thinking in 2020?
If you're having a hard time fitting it all in, know that you're not alone. And Wonderment is here to help you and your family find more time to create in 2020!
Nicole & Raygan ✨