Put Down the Phone and Act!

Drama gets kids off their devices and expands the imagination, Strengthening critical thinking.

Are electronics okay for our children?

Living in a digital age it is hard for parents to find a healthy balance between beneficial and detrimental use of electronically devices. Sure, we want our child to have a phone for emergencies but do we want them texting for hours a day? We want our children to have access to the world wide wide web or educational applications to expand their minds but do we want them to be caught up in social media?

There is something we can do as parents to help our children utilize electronic devices appropriately and limit time spent on devices that may be unhealthy. In a typical day, children consume just over three hours of media. This includes computer use, cell phone use, tablet use, music, and reading. Two thirds of this time is spent with “screen media” (TV, computers, the Internet, etc.) while reading is less than 20 minutes per day.

This doesn’t have to be next years statistic. Let’s use the fun art of acting and drama to create change. Strengthening critical thinking and expanding the imagination through drama gives children a new focus with benefits that will last a lifetime.

As a parent we can encourage put children to participate in acting and drama. We can create improv in our living rooms by giving our child a scenario and role to play out instead of handing them the remote control. They can spend after school hours practicing for a drama production instead of checking their latest Facebook posts. Parents have the ability to add parental controls to electronic devices. Explaining to children the benefits of participating in drama rather than spending countless hours on devices helps them to understand why there is a transition being made. Kids loved to be accepted and encouraged. Giving your child constant affirmation and praises for their efforts in drama and their participation will make them want to continue.

How does drama benefit the child?

How can we make a transition to more active uses of our mind? How do we expand our imagination and critical thinking at the same time? How can we get the children involved and excited about this change? Through Drama! Drama has the stage already prepared for imagination, creativity, critical thinking, and active learning. When kids and young adults participate in drama they have to:

  • Read the script
  • Memorize lines
  • Think about their body movements while at the same time recalling memorized lines
  • Be aware of the environment and people around them
  • Create scenes from depictions they read
  • Interact with peers
  • Know what events come before and after their involvement in a scene
  • Use props appropriately when needed

By performing in a drama production children and young adults are prepping their minds and bodies for a bright future. Drama enhances imagination. It opens up a world that young ones would otherwise would not have known existed. When a play is done with a centaur as a role one must first imagine a world in which one could exist; then you would have to imagine the different movements necessary for a centaur to move and function; then you would have to put those evaluated movements into reality through acting, all while being conscious of your lines, the props, scene depiction, other actors, and the audience. So much more is going on than originally meets the eye.

Although, this may seem complex when evaluated a small child is capable of these tasks! When given the opportunity, children and young adults are capable of so much. Giving them the chance to expand their minds and abilities in the arena of drama gives them skills that will be beneficial in any area of interest they may develop in the future.

As parents, we need to take active participation in shaping the type of people we want our children to be. Putting parental controls on all media devices given to our children is a great place to start. Limiting the time children can spend on electronics and screening the content that they can view will already do more good than can be put into words. Start improv exercises with your child at a young age if possible. Encourage children to try drama. Give your beloved child the skills to reach their potential and never feel incapable of achieving anything less.

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