My daughter is in her zone of concentration.
My first instinct is to walk over and compliment her on the Kiwi Crate project she is working on. I fight the urge and sit tight. In the book The Artful Parent, Jean Van't Hul cautions, "The world needs more and better creative thinkers.*" Yet, our children live in a world of constant distractions: television, video games, computers, extra-curricular activities, etc.
Q: How can we help our children become better creative thinkers with such an overabundance of stimulation?
A: When you come across a small moment of concentration, nourish it. Pretend your child doesn't exist.
Below are 3 ways well-meaning parents accidentally break their child's concentration:
1. Praise. When you see your child diligently working on an art project, if you're like me, your immediate response is to go over and give a compliment. Hold your tongue. Save your praise for after the streak of concentration has naturally broken.
2. Observation. Do you remember that old 80s Rockwell tune, "I always feel like somebody's watching me"? The feeling that someone is watching you can break concentration. Think about how frustrating it is to have somebody read over your shoulder! Try your best to avoid eye contact. Keep an eye on what he is up to with quick unintrusive glances.
3. Jumping up to help. Many well-meaning adults often rush in to "fix" things. In The Absorbent Mind, Maria Montessori explains that a child's interest is more often based on the joy of overcoming difficulty than the simple task itself.
In other words, remember:
Our job as parents is to raise happy and competent adults. Short-term frustration grows into long-term independence.
Earlier this spring when Kiwi Crate discovered we were studying archeology in preparation for a summer trip to the Black Hills, they graciously sent our girls a "Dig into Dinosaurs" box. When the package arrived, I did what any working mom would do... I hid it.
I wanted to save it for that inevitable breaking point. You know, the moment when you simply need 20 minutes to yourself to finish a project, get dinner started... find your sanity. I stashed away "Plan B" knowing that within the green crate was EVERYTHING needed to entertain my daughter -- all organized neatly within it. (AKA: no searching for pipe cleaners, glue sticks, or scissors.)
You'd think, since I'm a parent, the smile captured below is what would make me *love* Kiwi Crate, but it's not.
THIS is the face that won me over:
I was tempted to check in, ask her if she needed help with directions, praise her fossil clay work... but I held back.
This is what I heard for the next 45 minutes.
I needed 20 minutes to find my sanity. Kiwi Crate scored me 45.
Throw in a project so engrossing that it elicits this type of concentration?
PS: Need something to entertain your kids RIGHT NOW? Stop by Kiwi Crate's free DIY Ideas collection on their website for
101 free kids crafts, educational projects, and recipes.
If you'd like to have a Kiwi Crate on hand for a rainy summer day, check out the sweet deal below.
*Citation permission: From The Artful Parent, by Jean Van't Hul © 2013 by Jean Van't Hul. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc., Boston, MA. RoostBooks.com
Information Source: The Absorbent Mind, by Maria Montessori
Disclaimer: Let's Lasso the Moon is proud to work with Kiwi Crate as a partner for growing curiosity & creativity. This post contains affiliate links.