Improv parenting

Parenting can be infinitely frustrating. It’s a grind that can suck the life out of even the most playful of parents.

How can you bring back some of that magic?

The answer, according to two Minneapolis moms, may be improv parentings classes, play days and camps. 

Improv Parenting is the brainchild of mother-of-three Keren Gudeman, an educator and improv newcomer, who teamed up with a local improv instructor and fellow parent, Jen Scott.

This past summer, the two launched workshops and classes that use improv techniques to encourage kids to play and to help parents trust themselves, respond instead of react, be in the moment, listen better, be authentic, collaborate and set clear boundaries, while also having fun. 

“For a lot of our day-to-day interactions, we’re negotiating,” Gudeman said of modern parenting. “What’s a way you can make it more playful?”

Gudeman shared an example of trying to pick up her son from preschool: When he tried, as usual, to run in the opposite direction down the hall when it was time to go, Gudeman pretended to smear him with a giant stick of “glue” so he would “stick” to her as she picked him up. 

Young children, Gudeman said, aren’t always being defiant. Why not look at the world from their point of view?

“We use improv to play games and practice skills, without any pressure to perform, and we ground our material in research,” Scott said. “We believe in the power of play, creativity and spontaneity for joyful, connected families.”

Upcoming classes, held at various Twin Cities locations, include a Preschooler and Adult Workshop at 10:30 a.m. Nov. 10 (free), an Adult Workshop from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Nov. 13 ($15 per person) and Elementary Workshops on Nov. 19 (3 p.m. for grades K-2 and 4 p.m. for grades 3-5), both free!

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