Inspiring Creativity in Your Child

 

Creativity is one of our favorite words! Drama Kids International eats, breathes and sleeps creativity, not just because it’s fun, but because of the benefits it can have. We especially know the benefits being creative can have for children.

Creativity is not just about developing new ideas, it’s about the cognitive processes that can change your understanding of and relationship to the world. It helps us solve problems and can be instrumental in critical thinking. In other words, creativity is vital for us to make our place in the world.

Would you like to help inspire and encourage your children’s creative side? You’re in luck – we know a thing or few about how to do just that!

  1. Ask your children questions.Not only are you going to be encouraging conversational skills, but depending on the question, you will be helping inspire their creativity. Ask questions that will make them think, perhaps why are there treesor what their favorite color is and why.
  2. Give them the space to create.Chances are your kids have already embraced their creative side, so why not step aside and watch them go? You can further encourage their creativity by giving them fun “jobs,”such as designing birthday candy labels or seeing what structures they can build from LEGOS.
  3. Encourage digital creativity.Technology is now a major part of our lives, and we don’t see that changing anytime soon. Luckily, recent technology is another avenue that can be utilized to inspire creativity in your kids! You can direct them to siteslike Crayola Kids’ Playzone, Disney LOL, or mobile apps like Toca Boca Games and Sago Mini Games.
  4. Be their creative example.Your children are always watching you and the things you do, so be sure they see you embracing that creative side! Even better, encourage them to join in when you are feeling creative.

The children of today are our innovators and creators of tomorrow. This is why we are so passionate about helping them develop the skills needed to embrace their creative sides. The programs created for the Drama Kids International curriculum are specifically tailored to nurture and encourage the skills needed to help children be successful in life.

Helping Your Kids Develop Healthy Habits

 

At Drama Kids International, we know how important it is for children to develop healthy habits! We also know that as parents, one of our most important roles is to help our children develop those healthy habits.

From the physical aspects of eating healthy and staying active to developing healthy emotional habits, there are many things that children are learning from us day in and day out. Wondering how you can better encourage your child to pick up healthy habits? Have no fear, we’ve compiled a list of ideas for you!

  1. Have your child help in the kitchen.A kitchen is a place where you can not only sneak in quality family time but also teach your kids useful skills and healthy habits. By having them help in the kitchen, you can expose them to the fun that comes from preparing their own healthy meals. You are also helping to boost their confidence, which makes this idea a double bonus!
  2. Limit the junk food coming into your house.Who is doing the grocery shopping in the home? That’s right, you are! One sure way to help your children miss out on the junk food addiction and choose healthier options is to keep the junk out of the house!
  1. Find a healthy balance for screen time.Too much time spent watching TV, playing video games or being on the computer helps lead to a sedentary lifestyle, which brings with it an increased risk for obesity and cardiovascular disease. Establish limits on how much “screen time” your child is allowed to have each day, specify what kinds of screen time they are allowed to enjoy (games, TV shows, mobile device apps, etc.), and try to avoid any screen time shortly before bedtime.
  1. Remember, you’re their role model.Those little eyes are always watching you, even when it might seem like they are not! To help encourage your child to embrace healthy habits, you’ll need to be practicing what you’re preaching!
  2. Offer them creative outlets to express themselves.This speaks more to emotionally healthy habits, but kids need to know how to express themselves! Drama Kids can help provide such an outlet through our programmingthat is tailored to help children develop speaking, acting and social skills!

Children develop the majority of their healthy habits at home but having help from curricular and extra-curricular activities is always an added bonus. We’d love for you to discover the “dramatic” difference Drama Kids International can make in your child! Contact the DKI location nearest you to get started!

8 Family-Friendly Ways to Welcome Springtime

 

Spring is almost here, and our team at Drama Kids International is ready to bid farewell to winter! In honor of the upcoming season, we thought it would be great to share some family-friendly springtime activities with you!

  1. Break out the outdoor toys. Spring brings warmer temperatures around, making it a great time to begin embracing outdoor life with your family. Get the bubbles out, start bouncing on the trampoline again, hit the playground and swing to your heart’s content!
  2. Have a spring scavenger hunt. With the changing of the seasons comes a whole new world for your child to explore! Create a scavenger hunt centered around nature, looking out for blooming flowers, birds’ nests and baby critters!
  3. Start planning your garden. It may still be too soon to start planting your garden, but your family can take some time to discuss and plan out what will go in this year’s garden! You can even enjoy outdoor time and start prepping the area for planting season. Be sure to include some veggies in your garden, so that you can build healthy eating habits in your kids!
  4. Make a bird feeder. Spring is a time to enjoy nature’s beauty, and making a bird feeder with your kids is a great way for them to embrace their creative side and ultimately enjoy gazing at our feathered friends!
  5. Visit a farmers’ market. Farmers’ markets begin to “spring” to life during this new season, and a trip to one can be an exciting adventure with your family on the weekends! Enjoy the fresh fruits and veggies and teach your child about supporting small local businesses at the same time!
  6. Have a picnic. Is there anything better than enjoying a sunny Saturday at your local park? Yes—enjoying that Saturday at the park with some delicious goodies! Pack up your picnic basket, grab the family and head to the park!
  7. Paint rocks. Painting rocks has become a popular hobby for many and is something that your artists-in-residence children will love! Let them decorate some rocks for the garden or leave them as a special surprise at a family member or friend’s house!
  8. Go stargazing. Once the chill of winter has fully moved on, taking in the night sky and pointing out various constellations to your kids is a great way to both educate and inspire them!

We hope that this list of springtime ideas blossoms into enjoyable activities for your family to enjoy! Don’t forget that summer is coming up quick, and the time to start thinking about enrolling your child in a Drama Kids International summer camp is now! Contact your local DKI to find out about the programs they’ll be offering and take advantage of any early bird discounts they may have!

5 Ways Parents Can Help Boost a Child’s Self-Esteem

 

Helping boost your child’s self-esteem is one of the greatest and most beneficial things a parent can do! At Drama Kids International, we specialize in helping children develop and grow life skills such as creative thinking, leadership, and public speaking, as well as helping them discover ways to build up their self-confidence and self-esteem.

Since much of the real work is done at home, we thought it would be beneficial to share some ways parents can help boost their child’s self-esteem!  Here are some things to take into consideration:

 Don’t jump into rescue mode too often. We all want to be there to fix our childrens’ problems and make sure that their struggles in life are limited, but it’s important to allow them to face difficult experiences from time to time without playing the rescuer. By constantly rescuing your kids, you aren’t doing them any favors later in adulthood. Also, by allowing them to experience a trying situation, you are helping them become more empowered, which can be directly linked to their self-esteem.

 It’s not always about praise. In 2017, researchers discovered that lavish praise is not the best way to build up a child’s self-esteem, but that instead, warmth is the key. Instead of inflated praise, children who experience warmth and encouragement from their parents have been found to have higher levels of self-esteem.

 Make sure they feel loved and accepted. Yes, we know this is a no-brainer, but it’s still worth discussing! A child that feels loved and accepted is one who flourishes, so make sure that you are finding ways to express that love, without distractions, daily.

Encourage their talents. All children have something they are good at and something that they would like to improve on. Parents can encourage them to embrace those talents, and also spend some quality time with their child to help them get even better!

 Don’t do everything for them. It’s natural to want to take care of your kids and cater to their needs, but a parent’s role is not to be their maid or waitress. If you do too much for your children, their drive and initiative could suffer. We want to raise responsible, independent children, and that cannot be obtained by waiting on them hand and foot. If your children can get their own breakfast or lunch ready, let them – encourage and embrace their abilities and begin nurturing that independence.

We all know the major role self-esteem plays in our lives and how important it is for children to develop a strong self-esteem early on in life. Without self-confidence and self-esteem, children are left vulnerable to a world that can often be more cruel than it is kind.

Along with your excellent parenting skills, Drama Kids International is able to step up and help your child build up that self-esteem through our specialized drama classes. Come find out why the “difference is dramatic” today!

The Impacts of Bullying on Kids

 

At Drama Kids International, we are passionate about the anti-bullying movement, which is evident with our ACT UP! to Stop Bullying initiative. Why are we so determined to help bring an end to bullying? Because we know the impact it has on kids!

Bullying is linked to a multitude of negative outcomes, including impacting a child’s mental health and leading to substance use or even suicide. Not only can bullying impact those who are bullied, but it can impact those who observe it and those who are the bullies.

Children who are bullied can develop depression, low self-esteem and health problems, and perform poorly in school, while those who witness bullying can become fearful, feel powerless to act, and then experience guilt for not acting. Children who bully others can be more likely to go down a less than ideal path, which may include stealing and vandalizing property, getting into fights, drinking or smoking, and performing poorly in school.

We already know that between one in three and one in four students have reported being bullied in a school environment, but up until lately, we did not fully understand how long those actions can impact their mental health. Fortunately, researchers in the UK have found that while the impact of bullying is severe, it isn’t necessarily permanent.

These researchers confirmed that being bullied at a young age can lead to symptoms of anxiety and depression but saw that the effects lessened or disappeared over time. That is great news for victims of bullying, but still – knowing that the effects can be so serious when bullying is occurring is even more of a reason to want to prevent bullying altogether!

The seriousness of bullying is something that is well-known throughout the country, and in the United States, 43 states have enacted laws and policies to help protect children from bullying.

Drama Kids International is dedicated to the anti-bully movement and is proud to offer ACT UP! to Stop Bullying workshops at schools throughout the country. These workshops are designed to help students understand the different forms of bullying, learn about the different roles they can play when bullying occurs and help model good behavior!

Would you like to learn more about this initiative or find out how to bring it to your school? We’d love to have the chance to discuss it with you! Reach out to the Drama Kids International location near you today!

Enjoying Valentine’s Day the Drama Kids Way

 

Valentine’s Day will be here in just two weeks, and our team at Drama Kids International can’t think of a better valentine to give than one that will help children appreciate and enjoy Feb. 14!

A holiday that can make even adults anxious, Valentine’s Day can, unfortunately, have the same influence on children. But there’s no reason for the holiday to make your kids anxious, and with the tips we’ve gathered, they should be able to embrace the lovey holiday with confidence!

  1. Make the holiday fun. Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to surprise your family with heart-shaped pancakes or other sweet treats. You can also get crafty and creative and have your child help create some decorations for the day!
  2. Make the day special for your significant other. Our kids are constantly watching us, and Valentine’s Day is no different. We want to be a fantastic example for them, and that should cover how we treat our significant other, too. Perhaps have your kids sign a card with you or allow them to help pick out a gift that can be given to your significant other.
  3. Remember that school can be tough on V-Day. Do you remember back when you used to sweat bullets hoping that you’d get at least one valentine on Feb. 14? That same anxiety can still be found in children today. While most schools now ensure that the day is inclusive, children can still face fears of rejection from their peers. Be sure to discuss the school day with them, listening and discussing any disappointments they may have experienced.
  4. Embrace the spirit of the holiday. Valentine’s Day is one draped in hearts, candy, flowers and displays of grandeur to prove your feelings for someone. It’s easy to buy into the day, but instead of emphasizing the material aspects of Valentine’s Day, remember to show your child that the holiday is rooted in love. Presents and grand gestures are great, but ultimately, your kids should know that however nice they may be, material items are not required to convey love!

If you ask us, love and confidence are two things that just fit together, and the more comfortable and loved children feel, the more confidence they will have in life! Remember, Drama Kids International has developed programs that are specially tailored to help continue building confidence in children, as well as numerous other vital life skills!

Laughter—It’s Good for the Soul

Laughter is good for the soul

 

When was the last time you laughed at yourself? Better question— when was the last time your children laughed at themselves?

Humor is a fundamental item in the world of drama and especially useful in our Drama Kids International programs. Not only is laughter good for the soul, but being able to laugh at yourself also has many practical benefits, including boosting leadership skills and aiding mental and physical health!

According to Lifeway’s Selma Wilson, there are three excellent reasons that leaders should be laughing at themselves: It makes them real, it makes them reachable, and it helps gives others the freedom to laugh at themselves as well.

These three things can also translate for children, especially those who are interested in leadership or performing. Often, those in leadership roles can seem disconnected from the population, but by realizing that laughing at themselves is 100 percent OK, it helps them seem no different than you or me. We are all human, and funny goof-ups happen. Being able to laugh at those is what helps us keep our humanity intact!

Laughter truly can be the best medicine where our physical and mental health is concerned. According to NBC News Better, not taking ourselves too seriously has excellent benefits for mental health. Laughing at yourself is a sign that you’re more resilient and able to handle life when it doesn’t go your way. The news station also referenced a 2009 study by the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore that found how an active sense of humor can help protect against heart attacks and prevent heart disease. Laughing at yourself can also help boost short-term memory and aid in pain management.

According to Lifehack, laughter has nine excellent benefits for our whole person.

Laughter can:

1   Stimulate the full body

2   Make you feel better

3   Increase your immunity

4   Promote heart health

5   Help you stress less

6   Increase connection with others

7   Burn calories

8   Boost mood and confidence

9   Help you get through difficult times

At Drama Kids International, we know the value of comedy and laughter and are careful to include it in all facets of our drama programs. We love to laugh and love to see children benefit from the joys of laughter.

Interested in finding out more about how laughter can help your child develop leadership skills and confidence? We’re ready and waiting to discuss it with you, as are any of our Drama Kid International locations!

The Many Benefits of Improv for Children

 

At Drama Kids International, we are continually seeing the benefits drama classes can have for children. You may not know it, but our fun, fast-paced, developmental curriculum consists of more than 450 unique lesson plans – which feature various activities that aid your child in very specific ways.

From class plays, scene starters and mini-snippets (just to name a few), rest assured that each activity is helping your child continually work on speech development and communication skills, creative movement, self-confidence and other important life skills. Our favorite activities at DKI are those that focus on improvisation. After all, what better way is there to encourage creativity and imagination than by doing improv exercises?

You’ll be happy to know that there are many benefits of improv for children, and not just in the creative realm, but in the academic world, too!  Improv is most commonly found on college campuses, but some high schools have picked up on the benefits it can provide students. At Drama Kids, we’ve long acknowledged the impact improv can present. Think of it as helping boost the four C’s: creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication.

There’s no right or wrong answer in improv, which goes along with creativity, but you surely have to be able to think quick on your feet (critical thinking). Also, with improv, the children must work together to make things flow (collaboration) and then clearly communicate their ideas and antics.

Improv can help children learn in many different ways, including having a mutual respect for others and their ideas and building confidence that will pay dividends in the educational classroom. Improv can also be used by instructors to learn their students’ various strengths and weaknesses! For those children who are on the autism spectrum, improv can be an excellent way for them to learn how to better read body language and pick up on others’ emotions.

There is even a place for improv in your very own home! We know this may seem less than ideal, after all there are just some things that shouldn’t be improvised on. It’s more the “yes, and” aspect that applies. By utilizing this one improv rule, you can become an agreeable and active participant in your child’s life – and by listening, you can truly discover what your child wants or the motives behind his or her actions!

If you’d like to know more about the benefits that improv can have in your child’s life, our Drama Kids International team would be happy to discuss them with you! Explore our various programs online and reach out to the Drama Kids location near you – it’s time you found out why the “difference is dramatic” with DKI!

The Dangerous Impacts of Smartphones for Teenagers

 

“I think we like our phones more than we like actual people.”

Take a moment to let those words sink in, the words of a 13-year-old girl who is growing up in a generation that has never lived without the Internet or without smartphones. A generation that according to Dr. Jean M. Twenge, has developed a far less rebellious side and is more tolerant than its predecessors, yet continues to see a rise in depression. Fortunately, as we’ll point out later on, there are some steps you can take to help limit your teen’s dependency on the smartphone!

It may seem overly dramatic to claim that “smartphones are ruining a generation,” yet we must admit that this “iGen” (children born between 1995 and 2012) dependence on them is concerning. Data shows that almost 70 percent of 11- to 12-year-olds use a mobile phone, with that number increases to nearly 90 percent by age 14. Some 56 percent of children between ages 10 and 13 own a smartphone. It’s pretty much commonplace for an adolescent to have a smartphone, and their screen time remains something that is very concerning.

Twenge points out in her Atlantic article that while iGen kids are physically safer than teens have ever been, they are far more vulnerable than Millennials were for teen depression and suicide. The constant need to be on a smartphone can also have some negative impacts on the health of teenagers, as inactivity can lead to weight gain, loss of sleep due to staying up too late, and even injuries to thumbs or wrists. According to Twenge, all screen time can be linked to less happiness, despite reports that up to six hours a day are safe for teens as long as they are “doing well in school.”

Have you noticed that your teen’s behavior seems to be directly linked to the smartphone that’s an extension of his or her hand? Is your child beginning to show signs of communication struggles or seeming more and more withdrawn?

There are ways to help tone down your teen’s smartphone usage! According to Scary Mommy, there are five specific things you can do to tone down your kids’ dependence: limiting daily use, keeping the phone nearby so they can’t hide away in their bedroom with it, taking their phone with you at bedtime, dangling the smartphone “like a carrot” whenever you can and always knowing the password to unlock the phone!

Remember that Drama Kids International has programs especially tailored to tap into your teen’s communication skills and encourages healthy self-esteem and self-confidence in all who participate! Reach out to your local Drama Kids and see what we can offer your child!

How Drama Classes Provide Kids With Valuable Life Lessons

Development through drama is what we’re all about at Drama Kids International! In addition to helping children learn and hone their drama skills, we are also developing public speaking and communication skills and instilling valuable life lessons in them through our exciting programming!

The benefits of drama classes for kids include increased academic performance and nourishment for their imagination, but there are even more  important skills that can be learned through drama classes!

  1. Confidence. By participating in drama classes, children will see their confidence boosted through the various components of the class. If your child is shy, having the chance to be in a safe environment with peers could help him or her overcome that self-consciousness! The confidence gained through our classes is something that will stick with your child throughout his or her life!
  2. Improved communication skills. There is no question that practice makes perfect, and with the practice in various communication techniques provided in our highly structured programs, your child will be a skilled communicator for the rest of his or her life. Acting training helps kids learn the art of conversation, build suspense and improve their verbal timing. It also helps them improve non-verbal communication techniques such as body language.
  3. Appreciation for differing viewpoints. The world of theater is made up of many different personalities and people, much like the world we all live in! Through drama, children learn how to take other viewpoints and ideals under consideration, as they must understand where the character they are portraying comes from. This will spill over into their adult life and help them have a better understanding for those they encounter. Being able to relate to and appreciate those who are different than your child is an extremely important life skill to have!

We’ve only cracked the surface of what life lessons children can learn through DKI programming! If you would like to discuss the multitude that exist, we’d love to chat with you. Reach out to us online, and let’s continue the conversation!