Today's post comes to us from Amber Coleman-Mortley. A mom of three, Amber currently runs a blog/vlog, Mom of All Capes, highlighting ways in which parents can masterfully and conveniently explore creativity in the life of their developing child.
Join Your Children in Their Natural Curiosity
As we grow older, the fascination with the nuances of life fade- either because of time, routine or general boredom. We become less curious and less willing to fully engage in new experiences. Adults know how things work or at least we know where to get that information. But the beauty of parenting is the opportunity to see life through a different perspective. Your children even at a young age can see, feel, taste, touch and hear life much differently than you can. My children routinely share items and feelings I once took for granted- blades of grass, fall leaves, how bubbles make you feel, textured cloth or balls of lint, to name a few. I never realized how fascinating these experiences were until I began to look at them with nuance and wonder. In my moment of awakening I realized that they are new to all this stuff! Parenting allows us to learn with our children, encourage their curiosity and provide them access to information. This is a great opportunity for both parents and children to go through life as adventurers together.
We don’t need more experiences; we need to be present in the ones that are available to us.
Whether it is a visit with older relatives or a trip to the mall, I try to incorporate our 3 Ways to Be in everything we do as a family. Be Mindful. Be Open. Be Spontaneous. Our excursions may take a little longer, but the car rides home are extremely lively and filled with rewarding and engaging reflection.
How can you apply 3 Ways to Be?
Here are working definitions of each concept and a few strategies to ensure experiential learning becomes part of your everyday experiences:
Be Mindful. Be present and available to what is going on around you. Awareness brings insight and insight fuels creative thought.
Method: Ask 5 senses questions: What does it (feel, smell, taste, look and sound) like?
Be open.- Have no judgments going into the situation and prepare yourself to try something new. Make your raw emotions available to new experiences even when they are uncomfortable.
Method: Try new foods; experience different cultures, read new books or listen to new music.
Be spontaneous. Deviate from your plan. Jump off the beaten path and allow yourself to react to what comes.
Method: Attend an event you "happen upon"; go for a walk or long drive to nowhere; or find something silly to do.
Experience is the best teacher. Even an errand can be an adventure.
A trip to the grocery store, the laundromat or the post office can present really amazing opportunities for young minds. These are great moments to let your child take the lead and for you as the parent to ask them lots of questions about their vantage point. What do you see, smell, feel? How is it similar to another situation or experience? How is it different? Why do you think this or that?
Even among the most simple and seemingly mundane tasks, opportunities to learn and explore lay in wait for the curious child. Through awareness- being mindful, open and spontaneous- we can engage our children in meaningful learning experiences every day.