Unschooling is all about the child learning through engaging with their surroundings and then pursuing more deeply the concepts that spark curiosity and interest. The environment is key for learning to be a natural and smooth process. The environment should encourage children to explore their interests, learn from experiences, and pursue project based learning. Everything in the learning environment should encourage experimentation, problem-solving, creativity, and open-ended play.
1. Make a Detailed List Of The Parent You Want To Be
Include at least 10 characteristics of what an ideal parent is to you. For example, you could say you want to be calm, kind, and affectionate. There is a free handout to help at the bottom of this article! Read more about setting expectations as a parent.
2. Write 3 Things You Want To Change About Your Parenting
Get specific and write out all the details. I would even suggest writing a story down of an example of the parenting characteristics or actions you want to change. This will help you clarify the issues and pinpoint what you want to change and how you may be able to do so.
3. Make An Action Plan
Write a detailed plan for the new behaviors you are going to use to replace your old unwanted behaviors. GET SPECIFIC. For example, instead of telling when my kids aren’t listening I will calmly give them two choices. Write yourself an example to make it real: “You can get your shoes on by yourself or I can help you.”
4. Make a List of 3 Ways You Will Bond With Your Child(ren)
Choose specific activities that you will both enjoy and can do regularly. Also try to choose activities that allow you to chat and focus on each other. For example, if your child is sporty, instead of playing laser tag or something with a lot of distractions, try putt-putt golf so there’s lots of time to chat. Some ideas for bonding with younger children is art activities, going on a walk, or some of these easy activities. Whatever you choose, schedule it in at least twice monthly. Get a calendar or planner, write it down, and stick to it. The consistency of your efforts will mean the world to your child (whether their old enough to express it or not).
5. Reflect and Improve
Although reflection requires a lot of effort, it will by far make the biggest difference in your parenting. Take time at least weekly to check in on your parenting goals and see if you’re meeting them. If not, where can you make little adjustments to make the goals more obtainable. What new examples can you write down to help remember and put into action the way you want to parent? With each reflection, you’ll be able to better embody your parenting goals.
Children explore their roles in the world and their impact on the world around them through creative play. It’s important for children to process and understand their world as well as express their emotions through creativity for emotional well-being.
Follow these easy tips to support your child’s development through creative play and building the skill of creativity!
Set Up The Environment
The environment is key in encouraging creative play. It is important to create a “no” free zone that children know they can engage in without criticism or many limits.
If it’s not possible to always have this space set up, you can get a large baby gate to section off an area that you can add toys or art supplies the child can engage with freely. Providing a playroom, if possible, is a great option as well.
Simple Toys and Supplies
Research actually found children engaged more and formed more cognitive connections when using simple, wooden toys rather than electronic “learning” toys.
Keep simple toys that can be used for multiple purposes and imaginative play available at all times.
Schedule Free Time (or Don’t Schedule)
Always make sure there is time in the schedule for your child to engage in play without direction or a goal.
Give Children Space
Simple, give children space to play on their own without direction. However, ignoring children or forcing them to have alone time will only create children to be more “needy.”
A child’s emotional and attachment needs must be met before they are interested in solo and imaginative play.
Show your child how to use their imagination! Read some fantasy books together or grab a stick and pretend it’s a wand.
Teach your children it’s ok and even encouraged to engage in creative play and use things in creative ways.
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use the more you have.”