Acting Improv & Writing – Therapy for Kids (and Adults)

by betinah on September 24, 2020

This pandemic has been hard on our kids. They get lonely, nervous, surrounded by new normals that don’t feel normal.

Luckily, kids are resilient.

Acting improv and playwriting stretch that resilience.

Adults can nurture that resilience. Find an acting improv class, a writing class, a theater group, and let your kid explore.

My daughter is always coming up with nuggets all her own. The latest nugget is “Say It To Yourself.” It’s really a “Text It To Yourself” activity, but can work spoken, too. (Check out the video above.)

It all came out of misery. She was getting overly upset about every little thing. There was screaming. There was anguish. There was crying. I was blaming her nerves as school neared. I was blaming the pandemic. I was starting to lose it.

Things began to escalate. All of a sudden she rushed off to her room.

Silence.

More silence.

And she came back. Happy. Agreeing to try the very thing she’d refused. I was floored!

What had she done? How had she changed her mind?

She told me, “I wrote to myself.” She had discovered she could send herself text messages. She was texting herself advice. Better than journaling, this was acting improv meets play writing meets real life and turns into self love. This was genius.

What have your own kids discovered during the pandemic? Something is helping them through. With a little more guidance, grief turns into art, art into self discovery, and self discovery leads us to a joyful self.

I teach kids to be creative, to be brave, and to be themselves.

I also teach myself. Recently I started writing a song every morning. Not the best I’ve ever written. A song snippet.  A beginning, something to jot down. Sometimes a perfect little gem arrives on my lips and it’s a delightful surprise.

I have always used art as therapy, as a reason to thrive. Your kids can. You can, too.

Give your kids a chance to be themselves through the arts, but don’t forget yourself. Write a song, write a poem, start a book, or take an acting improv class. Not sure where to start? Try Kate DeFeo’s FoHi Improv classes for adults. Try a private songwriting class with me. Try a painting class. Paint. Journal. Be yourself.

We owe it to ourselves.

And to our brilliant, resilient kids.

Garden Players classes are here to nurture kids, give them a safe place to be themselves, have fun, and discover their bravest, best creative selves!

-Betina Hershey

Betina’s childrens musicals have had over 2,000 performances in over 65 countries around the world, her Hot Jazz Jumpers “Very Next Thing” album received rave reviews in Downbeat Magazine & The London Times, she’s appeared in movies (Disney’s Enchanted, Mona Lisa Smile), and toured as Meg in Phantom of the Opera and Anybodys in West Side Story.

 

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