Monthly Archives: February 2015

girls flower field

Scaffolding Independence

girls flower field

The truth is that as much as we might want it, it’s not easy for us as parents to let our children become independent.  Here we’ve spent years being the rock that they lean on, and so when the time comes for them to move out and experience the world on their own it naturally becomes stressful for both parent and child.

It might sound crazy, but structured activities actually help to ease the transition to independence! Think of it like building a skyscraper – you have to build a scaffold that will hold the building up, something that’s got a lot of structure and security, before you let it stand on it’s own.

With structured activities kids are able to venture out into situations which are separate from their parents while still feeling that familiar support. In addition, the clear boundaries and structure provided by activities reinforce that comfort. Structured activities are supportive for child development because they allow kids to explore new activities while still feeling safe and secure.

Parenting for independence is created by offering a supportive parenting style. What kind of structured activity it is is far less important than it being something that involves closely supervised adult support. Sports, dance, clubs, religious groups, theatre, scouting, it’s all good. It’s important that your child spend time away from you or the school environment, allowing your child to not only venture out on their own, but also to continue to feel that scaffolding of adult interaction.

Essentially we’re giving them room to have success in a new environment while still providing for the failures and insecurities that they might experience. In truth it’s the moments in which they do have disappointment, rejection and loss that are actually most beneficial in supporting kid’s independence.  What they soon discover is that they are able to deal with negative situations in addition to positive situations, holding their own and thereby giving them strength and a sense of accomplishment.

Find activities in your area that can help develop independence by clicking here.

Public speaking

Kids Activity: Living Room Poetry Slam

Slam poetry is a free-form poetry that uses poetic devices and tools to tell a story, express a feeling, or convey a message about a specific topic or issue. It’s generally performed at poetry slams, and uses spoken word poetry, which is essentially just poetry that’s performed.

Slam poetry can be off the cuff, in the moment. It often occurs at Poetry Slams, which are essentially competitions. Think of it like a dance off with words. 

When kids begin to access slam poetry, it’s generally prewritten. It’s a fantastic way for kids to learn to express themselves and also to exercise their intellect. You can have your own poetry slam right in your living room – here’s how.

How to Have a Poetry Slam in your Living Room

  1. Introduce your kids to slam poetry by sitting down together and watching some! There are tons of videos on YouTube of kids doing slam poetry. The Leaf Festival has some incredible videos of their slam poetry with kids. (Warning, sometimes slam poetry can address sensitive topics that might not be appropriate, be careful to filter before you watch together!) Kids of all ages can participate, just keep in mind that it will be on whatever level is their own.
  2. Choose a topic. Things you’re grateful for, things that challenge you, something that makes you happy, something that makes you angry, etc. Whatever your topic, everyone will write a piece about the same thing. That gives your slam a theme and helps everyone to focus their work. Don’t forget to write your own!
  3. Set a date for your slam, a week is a good timeframe so everyone has time to prepare.
  4. You don’t have to be too formal in order to make a home poetry slam work. You can just let your kids flow with it. Here’s a fantastic guide from the folks at TED to help you create.
  5. Make snacks and enjoy some incredible quality family time that’s teaching your kids self expression, confidence and passion!