The Most Underrated and Over Abused Teen Activity: Doodling

doodlingPoor, doodling.  When did doodling become the enemy of every teacher? When did doodling become a waste of time? Who decided doodling was for lazy students?

Doodling, when appropriate can be a great tool, here is

Why Doodling Rocks:

1) Doodling encourages creativity and the imagination

2) Everyone is so worried about teens spending all of their time online and in front of screens.  Doodling is a real life, paper and pencil activity that is fun and does not involve an electrical current—embrace it!

3) Doodling can keep you calm.  I had a family I worked with where car rides always involved fights.  Teens were on edge after school and mom wanted to be involved.  I suggested the teen buy a doodle book and doodle on the way home. That way he could still engage and talk to mom, but the doodling kept him calm.

4) It can help you focus.  I know certain people that use doodling during class to help them stay awake and tuned in.

5) It makes brainless activities, brainful (not a word, I know).  Instead of passively watching TV, teens who doodle can actually stimulate their brain and think during a normally passive activity.

6) It is a great way to express ideas.  I know teens who use manga journals instead of real journals.  They draw their day and feelings instead of writing!

7) It can be a career skill.  Yes, we can draw using computers.  But you never know when drawing or doodling might come in handy down the line.

8) Teaches multi-tasking.  I find it very hard to teach teens how to multitask during our Life 101 Time Efficiency lesson.  One way I have learned to do this, is to actually assign them to doodle during TV, movies or listening to music to actually teach better multitasking skills.  It helps them use the visual part of their brain while listening.

Of course, there are some times when doodling is not appropriate.

When Doodling is Not Appropriate:

-One on one interviews
-The dinner table
-Restaurants that do not have paper placemats
-When someone is chastising you
-If someone specifically asks you not to
-When you should be taking notes

When Doodling is Appropriate:

-Classes where you just have to listen
-While you watch TV
-Class discussions
-Long car rides
-Hanging out with friends

Get your teen a doodle journal, talk to them about the different applications of doodling.  Don’t think of doodling as a silly, idle activity, it can be very useful!

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3 Responses to “The Most Underrated and Over Abused Teen Activity: Doodling”

  1. Judith Wilson Burkes
    May 23, 2009 at 11:40 am #

    I printed this out for my young son. He doodles all the time. I want him to know I support his creativity (I doodled when I was a kid, but got no support), but it is great you outlined when is a good time for doodling and when he should refrain.

    Thanks for the article!

    Judith Wilson Burkes
    Baltimore, MD

  2. James
    August 29, 2009 at 12:50 pm #

    I used to doodle alot at university/college through lectures. I think it helped me absorb and organise the information I was hearing in a more powerful, sub-conceous way. Sure I talked or got my head down on a few ocasions too, but even those didn’t fail me with multi-tasking skills built up, provided it wasn’t distracting to the speaker or other students.

    All that said, I think you know when doodling and listening is enough, and when full visual attention would be better for you. Like tuning into some key words on the tele that make you look up.

    Thankyou for writing this article for parents and teachers to consider :-)

  3. Vanessa Van Petten
    September 3, 2009 at 7:33 am #

    I think doodling is such a great activity and parents dont always realize it!

    Thanks for reading!


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