If the last two years have been challenging for every childcare Director and owner I know. There was more pivoting and recreating systems in 2020 than in the previous decade.
Owners I have worked with for over a decade closed up shop & sold their buildings. Others opened new programs to meet demand. A few tightened their belts and pushed through with fewer resources and staff. And still others closed down part of their business while strengthening others.
I have no idea which of these applies to you.
What I do know is that it take creativity to survive & thrive in times of change.
This season of change isn’t over.
There is massive federal legislation pending that will affect our industry. Having seen what similar legislation did to NYC childcare*, we should all be watching closely. This could be a huge benefit to your business or it could make it MUCH harder.
You will need your creative solutions this year as well. But a lot of us are feeling tapped out.
Which way will it go? To the light or the dark?
Feeling at a loss for creativity? Here are five techniques you can use to try and coax something new and exciting out of your brain! They won’t always work but give them a go, and you might just be surprised.
Go for a Walk
Walks are inspiring for a number of reasons. For starters, they allow us to take a break from what we’re doing and to change our environment. In turn, this leads to new input that can help us to gain a new perspective on whatever problem or task we’re wrestling with.
At the same time, walking is a monotonous task that allows our default mode network to kick in. This, essentially, means that we’re daydreaming, which is, often, a source of great inspiration.
Ask the Right Questions
Sometimes, inspiration is just about asking the right questions, which can help to reframe the problem you’re facing in order to look at it in a new way. For instance, if you’re wondering how to solve a problem and you can’t come up with an answer, try asking yourself how ‘Johnny’ would approach it. Likewise, instead of thinking about what you want something to be, decide what you don’t want it to be.
Take a Break
Sometimes, the best thing you can do to spark some creativity or solve a problem is to take a break. This way, you stop trying to force the idea, which simply creates stress, and instead, you simply let it come to you now that you’ve entered all your input. This is why we’re often encouraged to sleep on big decisions.
Listen to Music
Music can be highly inspiring as it alters our mood and energy level and takes us to different places. Often, you’ll find that music can leave you lost in thought, so try listening to some tracks while you mull over a subject, and see if that helps.
Talk it Over
There’s a myth that ideas take the form of lightbulbs or lightning strikes and that they come in a flash, fully formed. Actually, when questioned, most people admit that their best ideas formulated slowly, that they gestated for days, months, or even years before emerging.
Often, the best ideas are not formed in isolation either but rather when we discuss them with other people. Even if we’re just thinking aloud, this can help us to see new perspectives and will often result in new breakthroughs.
*The well-meaning NYC childcare initiative has been fraught with problems. It was intended to bring down the cost of childcare for families while increasing quality. However, it has caused hundreds of programs to close their infant programs because the amount of funds received by centers through the program is so low. Parents also have concerns. I have linked a couple of articles below for those who want more information.