If you’ve ever wondered how to keep up with the nonstop energy of a toddler, the answer might be improvisation. For ComedySportz ensemble member Melissa Cathcart, mother of 2-year-old Colin, improv training applies to parenting in more ways than just creating new verses of “The Wheels on the Bus.” “I think improv has made me more adaptable which has helped me weather the ups and downs of parenthood,” says Cathcart.
Fellow ensemble member Alida Vitas-Dow, mother of 9-month-old Sofia, agrees. “At ComedySportz, you have to have the skill of thinking quickly. This has definitely helped me with my little one, especially now that she's moving around the house. I have to think quickly to divert her attention from something dangerous or to just keep her attention.”
Improvisation encourages skills like listening, playfulness and being fully aware. Not surprisingly, these translate naturally to parenting. “I definitely use my heightened listening skills around Sofia. She can only say a few words now but I watch and listen for her cues to see what she wants - just as I do onstage with whomever I'm in a scene with,” says Vitas-Dow.
But improv isn’t all about fooling around for laughs. There are also some valuable life lessons that can be learned. “I hope Colin grows up to be someone who says ‘yes and,’” says Cathcart. “There is so much more possibility and room for growth when we support and build on each other's ideas.”
Vitas-Dow says, “I want to teach Sofia that the present moment is all you have, so have fun and pay attention to what is going on right now - in this very moment - just as you would onstage.”