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Scheduling Creativity

Today I had a parenting realization – I have to schedule time for my kids to be creative.  That sounds so counter intuitive, doesn’t it?  I wouldn’t have ever thought that this is even possible, but I realized today that is exactly what I have done in the past 2 months with my kids!

When we moved a little over 3 months ago, Saturdays were once again a blank slate with no commitments to the school, a local church, a sports club or music lessons.  Because they weren’t filled up with something else, it soon became necessary to start some type of routine, otherwise the kids would want to stay in front of the computer or video games all day.  Now our routine is a standing rule, that from 10AM until 2PM(ish) all electronics are off (besides iPods), giving us time to do our Saturday chores.  I need almost every precious minute of the 4 hours to get MY chores done, shower and get some lunch on the table.  My kids only need about 45 minutes – so what do they do for the rest of the time?  They get creative.

Yes, it was hard for them at first to use up the other 3 hours finding something else to do, but now they plan it and try to come up with a project for every Saturday.  In the past few weeks, they have created a homemade board game, made door hanger decorations for their door knobs, created custom gift-wrap for a friend’s birthday party and TODAY they created “The Amazing Kid Race”.  The most amazing part?  I have given them ZERO ideas – all I did was resource them with crafting material and extra time with limits of no electronics. 

Try it with your kids – find a time that is “boring” and I can almost guarantee that they will find something to do.  They will bother and nag you for the first few times that you try it, but if it becomes a part of their routine on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, they will start to fill it creatively.  Maybe it is crafting like my kids, maybe it will be pulling out the bike and creating an obstacle course, maybe it will be getting into their bookshelf and pulling out a favorite read.  Really, it doesn’t matter WHAT they do, the point is that they are finding healthy ways to entertain themselves, and that is AWESOME.  Don’t be afraid of letting your kids get bored; see it as a lesson in creativity!

 Emily Kortanek Armstrong, RN, BSN 
(with Scott, Elijah and Sydney)

Emily is a Northpoint mom, currently living out her dream as wife to Scott and mom to Elijah and Sydney.  She and her husband are career missionaries living in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

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Baby girl with pony tail in white