Life is FULL of mental stimulation...especially for our little kiddos. Everything is new to them and they soak up as much as they can, and because of that, they can be overtired, exhausted and trying to keep pushing themselves to keep learning more because it's SO fun, right!! I mean, really, who needs a nap or to go to bed early...life is just too much fun!!! :):) Life IS fun, but, I know in our house, when C is over stimulated by all the fun,especially when she's been at school all morning, she'll have many meltdowns that'll definitely have us all emotionally drained.
Because I know the powerful benefits of doodling and doodle painting, I make sure to provide C with mindless, creativity play breaks as much as I can to ease and balance all the structured learning that life provides her...especially after coming home from school.
All morning she's learning...
❀ the right way to behave so she doesn't have to sit in time-out
❀ how to stay in line while walking to the playground
❀ learn the alphabet and all the sounds that come with those letters (not easy because many of those letter come with many, MANY rules!)
❀ write her name
❀ remember the new kids name who just joined her class
❀ what month and day it is
❀ remember her spot on the rug for circle time
❀ songs to sing
❀ holes to punch
❀ paper to cut
❀ crafts to create
(and she's NOT even in elementary school yet, but once she is, there's going to me more rules to follow, which is WHY doing these activities below, are SO SO important and SO SO needed in not just our kids lives, but in our adult lives as well)
Yes...all of this is SO SO important to succeed in life and it's SO amazing to be on the outside watching her blossom into her beautiful and most awesome independent self. But, it's also SO amazing to see how when she comes home to just BEing and PLAYing with COLOR, without any rules (except for ONLY painting on her paper...not the walls or the furniture in the house!) or having the outcome look the same as all of the students in her class, how mentally balanced and confidently creative she becomes.
After we eat lunch together, and while waiting for Luca to take his nap, she can start to get pretty fussy...especially if we're close the end of the week. It usually starts out with wanting to do something her way, not the way I'm asking her to do it...like, when she wants to wear SHORTS!!! because it's NOT hot outside. And then, I have to tell her, "I know you want to wear shorts right now, BUT, it's still cold outside, so you'll need to wear paints." And then she says, "BUT I DON'T LIKE PANTS ANYMORE!!" and then continues to show her independent self, like this, for 10 minutes or longer with me. Fun fun! :)
This is when I know, it's time to get her COLOR on!! This is what I like to call, her doodle break. Just like I give myself my own doodle breaks, when I'm alone and have no one to take care of, C needs just the same.
I don't have a house full of creative materials, because it doesn't take much to get her creative calm on. And I get overwhelmed when my house is full of TOO.MUCH.STUFF!!
All we use is...paper, paper plates, paints (acrylics, water colors, finger paints), paint brushes, a cup of water, paper towels and a drop cloth for our table. Right now, I just wanna say, the drop off!?!? THE DROP OFF!!! LOL! Too much Finding Nemo in my life!! LOL! Drop cloth made me think it. ;)
And of course, for non-painting days, we just use markers, colored pencils (her favorite right now!!), crayons and crayola oil crayons.
I also don't plan any creative activities that require certain steps and a certain outcome. I always say, when she comes up to me with ideas and is asking to make something that requires things like that, then we'll get them. But, for now, we just play with any colors she chooses so she can calm her mind and balance the stimulation from all the structured learning that filled her mind that day.
This is also HER time. Not mine. Sure I doodle with her, but I'll show what I do and WHY I do it below.
I know, that if I wanted to use this time as my own creative calm time, it won't work. I'm always up and down helping her, so those calming juices won't nourish me in the way that I LOVE, and if I tried...I'd end up more frustrated and angry because of all the stopping I'd have to do to tend to her. Not good for this mama and her little family! So my time comes when it's perfect for me...and I'm OK with that. :)
So when she sits down to get her creative doodle onand she asks me to sit down with her to get my creative doodle on with her, I always...ALWAYS...let her guide me...not the other way around.
You'll see why in a minute.
The first thing she does, pretty much every time (and something I always start out doing in my own way when I doodle by myself), is she just paints all the white. This starts to get her inner, creative juices flowing.
Then I join in the fun and I ask her, "What are we painting today?!" And she told me, "We're driving to Disney World!" So I did the same with her.
Then, while she was continuing on with her painting, I started to paint the white, too, with a color that was feeling good to me at the time...purple!! Then I had some fun swirling the paint on the paper plate. Because, for me, even just getting this little bit of doodling time in, for a moment, when she doesn't need my help with anything, does get my inner calm on.
The reason why I ALWAYS do this with her...let her guide me and not actually paint a bird, or clouds, or the sun, or flowers while she's painting next to me...is because if she saw how I was drawing or painting something that she hasn't drawn herself yet, her inner, creative confidence will start to dim.
I'm sure you know, that when you were younger, or even now when you think of doing a creative activity as an adult, you probably look at someone else's work and asked them to draw it for you, or you tell yourself that you CAN'T draw or paint it as good as an another. Riiight???
Unfortunately, C has started doing this already...and she's only 4!!! I'm the only one in her life that lets her guide me with what to draw. And, that's OK...because most of us don't think in this way when we sit down to color with our kids. We just wanna color with them, and it's been a VERY.LONG.TIME since we were in the scribbling and doodling stage...we already know how to draw things. So it's easy to just draw whatever they ask for and draw one yourself.
But, now, because I've learned the powerful benefits of creativity and that WE'RE ALL CREATIVE and that it's SO VERY IMPORTANT to keep ourselves connected to that inner creativity we're all born with, I only want to look over at what she's painting or coloring...at her stage...where's she's at right now...when she's creating...and then do something similar to just that.
Because the more she creates like this, the more her outside stimulation will calm and the more her "I can't do it" thoughts will calm and the more her inner, creative confidence will blossom and shine!!
Sure, I may draw something she hasn't...but I keep it to a minimum. Like when I painted the paper plate, she wanted to do the same thing. So, yes, she's still using me as a guide as well. We all have guides and we NEED guides in our lives...but, at the same time, we also NEED to stay connected to WHO we are so we can keep our inner confidence on top!!
It's when she just creatively plays, without any outcomes, is when she'll start to discover her inner, creative self more and more. And the more she discovers it, the more it'll start to confidently blossom more and more.
The more she plays like this....
The more calm her little mind becomes and the happier and more connected to herself she becomes!! Which means, less meltdowns, for sure, too!!
And...another great benefit of all, the more she takes these mindless, creative play breaks, the better she'll be an handling and succeeding in her life that is 99.9% structured.
Oh, and just one more thing...when you start colorfully playing in this way...you truly start to connect more to WHO you are what YOU love. (this happens to me all the time!!)
C LOVES to sing...and it all comes shining through when we doodle together.
So if you find your kiddo (or even yourself) having one too many meltdowns, pull out some paper and crayons...it doesn't even have to be paints...and watch the calm (and happiness!) unfold. Remember, no rules. ONLY fun!! Oh yeah, except for keeping the coloring off the walls and furniture. ;)
And, I bet, before you know it, they'll be singing (and laughing!!) and guess who'll be singing and laughing right along with them...YOU??? It works for both kids AND adults!! Coooooool!!!
Doodling...doodle painting...finger painting...water color painting...crayons...colored pencils...whatever you choose to use, it's guaranteed to melt the stress away, calm the meltdowns, create mental balance and feeling oh-so happy and naturally energized!!
Because, sometimes, don't we all just need a break from the very much needed "structure" of life? :)
If you wanna learn more about the amazing benefits of getting your doodle (and your kids doodle on), be sure to check out my FREE EBOOK, where I inspire you, with beautiful, step-by-step photographs, on HOW to easily get your "doodle" on so you can slow down those wild monkey thoughts (and meltdowns!!), feel more emotionally calm and start to blossom your inner, creative self again!
So, tell me...
Do you ever just doodle with your kids? What about just playing with paint...no outcomes...no pinterest ideas...just you, your kids, paper and your favorite colors? Do you notice that you and your kids feel happier and a lot calmer than just minutes before you started?
I'd love to hear!!
Until next time... Life IS creatively, awesome...SAVOR it up!