Make Time for Time Out!

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

Columbus arts educator, author and all-around inspiration Mimi Brodsky Chenfeld shares more of her wisdom about raising happy, healthy, creative children:

Let's redefine that old behavior-modification method called "The Time Out." To survive and flourish in this test-full, stress-full education era we are maneuvering through, we need to find ways to keep ourselves and our children strong and sane! We could pack every page of this wonderful magazine with rational and passionate reasons as to why our worship of testing everything and assigning test scores to be the main evaluation of children and teachers is detrimental to real learning, to creativity, to encouraging children to run eagerly to school, to inspiring teachers to explore meaningful and joyful ways to reach every child…oh, I could go on and on! Given all these realities, how do we help ourselves and our kids to grow strong in their confidence and enjoy learning?

Let's take a Time Out from stressful situations, from overprogramming, from fear of failure. Even a few moments a day can be a life-saving time for a resistant or anxious child. A colleague who participated in our Artists in the Schools program spent one afternoon with a class sharing creative movement. She received a note from a child that read, "Thank you for coming today. You made me happy for the rest of my life."

A 10-minute walk outside before studying for a reading test can be a time of special sharing. The fun of looking at autumn colors, birds migrating in formation, street signs, license numbers and letters, and often words…singing together, talking and laughing. It's good to take a Time Out from a tight routine, a pressured homework session, a rush to a soccer game or ballet lesson.

Our children need those moments. Take those deep breaths, smile and swing arms and legs, and enjoy the tiny fraction of the day.

Sadly, too, so many of our children are addicted to their technology. Tweeting, texting, quacking, oinking…whatever! It might be a challenge to persuade them to leave their hi-tech toys, to take a few minutes to stretch, think, talk, sing, laugh, walk in a Time Out. Sitters, caregivers, grandparents, neighbors, families first have to believe these are important gifts possible on a daily basis and the price is right!

Just do it!

-Mimi Brodsky Chenfeld