As times change, many parents are being encouraged to enrol their children in applied improv classes. Improv helps alleviate levels of depression or anxiety in adults. But why is it not a common lesson for children from a young age?
While we have a limited answer to that question, in this comprehensive article we’ll reveal solutions to the reason why you need to involve your child in applied improv from an early age.
1. Enhances Brain Growth
Our brains have quite an extraordinary ability to adapt to different situations as we learn. In fact, our brains are always forming new connections and pathways, which changes the wiring of its circuits.
This is what scientists refer to as neuroplasticity. Whenever we learn, our brains create new pathways, and every new lesson can connect new neurons. In return, this changes the default operation mode of our brains, thus enhancing its growth.
That’s where improv comes in for children. Remember that a child’s brain is ever-changing, developing, and growing compared to an adult brain. This is one of the reasons the “terrible twos’ are such a trying time for parents.
By involving a child in improv at a young age, you open their brain to the possibility of learning new things.
Research has shown that enhanced environments containing focused attention, novelty, and challenges are crucial in promoting neuroplasticity. This can prompt the growth and positive adaptation in children, even after passing their “critical learning period.”
2. Boosts Divergent Thinking
Divergent thinking is the process through which one generates multiple ideas about a topic within a short period. The opposite of this is convergent thinking, where one solves a problem by following specific steps, either from memory or without considering other possible solutions.
Why is divergent thinking important? One primary reason is it helps to find new solutions and opportunities to any new problems. It’s the key behind what we call thinking outside the box, a trait that comes in handy later in life, whether employed or running a business.
3. Improves Creativity
Divergent thinking is usually the force behind creativity. There is no doubt that normal creative classes, like dancing and acting lesson, enhance a child’s creativity. However, research shows that such creative classes with an added layer of improv enhance kids’ imagination, creativity, and divergent thinking.
One of Improv’s basic rules is the “yes, and..” rule. With this rule, one player will contribute, and the next player agrees to their line of thinking and expounds on it. It requires one to be imaginative and creative enough to follow up on the previous player’s thinking line.
4. Builds Confidence
One way to build confidence is to start the process from a young age. In that breathe, improv can be an excellent avenue to help children boost their confidence level from a young age. It is not every day that one can stand in front of a gathering, even if it is playmates, and utter whatever comes to mind.
With improv, the rule of “yes, and” requires the player to be fearless about their contribution with the hope of keeping the conversation going. When one is not confident, they cannot think on their toes or even utter their thoughts aloud. It will also help the child build their articulation.
5. Living in the Moment
Most adults live in a bubble, only functioning by following their daily planners. Having a plan is not bad, and it helps improve productivity. But by leading life like a robot, one might miss out on good moments or fail to make spontaneous memories.
So far, we have seen that Improvisation requires one to live in the moment- be attentive, listen to your partner, and be aware of your surroundings. If your child can learn this from a young age, they can grow it into adulthood.
6. Building Relationships
Studies show that friendships help children learn more about themselves and their characters, helping them develop their own identity. These friendships can crop from the groups that kids spend constant time when playing.
Applied improv offers children a platform to build friendships with their playmates. These friendships can extend beyond the improvisation classes and grow into their adult life. Such relationships provide one with an avenue to release the pressure and stress of adult life.
7. Positive Thinking
Perhaps the most overlooked reason to get children involved in applied improv from an early age is the ability to build a positive attitude towards life. The “yes, and..” attitude can become an integral part of their life and might end up applying it in their adult life. When things do not pan out, one can accept (yes) and move to new options (and).
The bottom line is applied improv is not only necessary for an adult but for children, too. The trick is to have your child start on applied improv from an early age. It enhances children’s brain growth, helps them build relations, becomes empathetic, and enhances their creativity.