“Yes, and…” your children, and be amazed at the results
- February 14, 2018
- Posted by: Carolyn Mullen
- Category: Children's Programs ,
I’m always learning to celebrate our kid’s imagination whilst tapping into my own, and through my training and work with LMA I’ve seen how the fundamentals of improv can help improve the way a family communicates.
It often starts with children feeling comfortable enough to offer a suggestion and then being encouraged to let it grow with a “yes, and…” from parents or siblings. This in turn creates a space of openness, confidence and self expression.
Long-form improv, being ensemble based, helps children develop an understanding of who they are in relation to others, what they can contribute, and how to work collaboratively to make things happen. In a family this allows children to develop and explore ways to communicate more effectively with siblings and parents, and to find solutions, and create fun.
By learning to “yes, and…” children become confident that their ideas won’t be met with criticism, and speaking in public. And the best place to practice is at home with your family.
“Yes, anding” your children’s ideas opens up communication and creates a more welcoming, supportive (and fun) home environment. Through the simple act of using “Yes, and…” parents will discover their child’s true wants and motives behind their actions.
In the past I often found myself saying “no” to things, and when I thought about why, there really wasn’t a reason. Doug Moe, UCB performer, teacher, and the author of Man vs. Child: One Dad’s Guide to the Weirdness of Parenting, says “if there’s no reason to disagree, its better to agree.” By saying “yes, and…” with my own children I observed them living more in the moment.
By giving my children control over their ideas, I could see them develop creatively, confidently, and authentically – and more easily able to share what they think. With this small, seemingly simple step, we started to listen to each other better, react to one another positively, and accept each others ideas. And as my children gave more, we became a family ensemble with real Group Mind.
The basic tools of improv have vastly helped improve communication and play in my family, and I’m confident that if you start “yes, anding…” your own children (and partner) the results could surprise you too.
And definitely get a few laughs.
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