Creativity: crucial for all ages. My conversation with Dan Blank (rebroadcast) | Podcast Episode 270

Today’s guest, Dan Blank; image from his website,

 You may have heard that creativity is important to our children’s developing minds.
But have you ever thought about how important creativity is for yourself?

Today’s guest, Dan Blank, not only helps us understand how important it is… He helps us figure out ways to incorporate creativity into our busy parenting lives.

I hope you enjoy today’s conversation, whether you heard it when it was originally broadcast about 18 months ago, or if this is your first listen. Cheers!

Go to for:

  • Favorite ideas from our conversation
  • Dan’s answer to a question that didn’t make it into the interview
  • The video of the week: Off this week, returning Thursday, March 28

And thank you so much for listening!

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Temper Tantrums and Potty Training:

During today’s break I share about two helpful free guides I offer.
While the podcast is long-form – your opportunity to look into the mind of a child development expert – the free guides are super quick.

You can watch the video, read the checklist, and immediately handle the temper tantrums or get started with potty training (depending on which guide you choose : )

  • Click here for the FREE video and checklist to handle every temper tantrum
  • Click here for the FREE video and checklist to successfully potty train your child
  • Want to receive valuable ideas and tips on parenting, without either free guide above? Click here for my weekly parenting newsletter!

Video of the Week:

Off this week, returning Thursday, March 28


Key Ideas and a Question Answered

Dan shares so much in today’s episode about how to parent and retain our creativity – and foster our kids’ – all at the same time. Below, some words of Dan’s from today’s show that really resonate:

“Life is a process of finding out… boundaries [are a key part of that.]”
– On how constraints foster creativity

When Dan feels less-than-confident in his creativity… What does he do about it?
“Two things:, first, I turn to my support system, and second I ask myself “what is one action I can take to get through this?””

“Obsession is having extraordinary clarity about what you do… [when you’re feeling obsessed with some creative endeavor], go with it… It’s leading somewhere.”

“Collaboration helps create something we could not create on our own.”
– On the benefits of working with others

Dan and his wife foster creativity in their children by:
Harnessing the “power of boredom” and “underscheduling”

They teach good communication skills through, among other things, closing the office door. (This was a favorite part of mine in our conversation – kids need to learn when it’s okay to interrupt, and when it’s not. Dan’s idea that this teaches good communication skills resonated strongly with me; it’s something everyone needs to learn at some point in their lives. Best start early!)

We ran out of time for one last question, and Dan was kind enough to share a written answer:
Q: What if there are listeners to our conversation who want to get started on something creative… But maybe saying “that’s all well and good for you guys… But my situation is especially tough because…”
What help could you offer the listener who wants to be creative but is struggling to find the time, maybe the resources as well?

A: “For the person who is struggling to find the time, energy, or resources, I would encourage them to consider doing a “single push-up,” a metaphor from a Tim Ferriss podcast interview.
What is the smallest action listeners can take for their creative work each week?
For instance: no one has time to go to the gym, we are all far too busy. But everyone has the time to drop to the ground and do a single push-up. You can do it in your bedroom, the kitchen, the bathroom, your office, a hallway, the garage, the lawn.
And it takes 8 seconds.
The first one won’t work. It may take you 5 days to do one. Then you will get better at it. Then you can do 2 in 10 seconds. Then 3 in 13 seconds. And so on.
This will become a gateway habit.
So in other words: find the smallest habit you can reasonably do, even with your constraints. It will lead to others.”
– Dan


Key Links

Find Dan’s podcast, The Creative Shift, and sign up for his awesome weekly newsletter by going to

If you’ve never seen author Tommie dePaola’s wonderful, and wonderfully illustrated, books for children, this is your lucky day!
Click here for the book Dan and I discuss today, The Art Lesson.

Author Dani Shapiro, who wrote Still Writing, comes up in today’s conversation; find her here.

Author Neil Gaiman and his wife, writer and musician Amanda Palmer, also come up, specifically referencing Amanda’s instagram; find it here.

Click here for Tim Ferriss’s podcast.

Click here for the all things Freakonomics website, where you’ll find links to the podcast and books by authors Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. (Freakonomics comes up at the end, when I read out Dan’s answer to my last question.)



In the WTOO Universe

Join the private WTOO Facebook group… Click here!
The Facebook group is where I do our Magic Words for Parents Facebook live every Monday 🙂

Click here for my channel in YouTube, where you’ll find helpful videos (like this one on what to do when your child is jumping on the couch for your attention, at the worst possible time.)

My latest book, 10 Secrets Happy Parents Know, is officially out!!
Click here to read more!


Mind-blowing (if not free) resources for you:

Potty training little kids is never easy. That’s why I created a complete course, Successful Potty Training Under Pressure, to help!
This course gets you ready for potty training with:

  • Gear recommendations, both essential and nice-to-have
  • Scripts so you know exactly what to say when your child has accidents or other struggles
  • Fixes for common problems – like if your child doesn’t care about sitting in a wet or poopy situation, or if you’re struggling to work well with your child’s school or caregiver

I created this course to give you everything you need to successfully potty train your child.
Click the link below to check it out!


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Awesome FREE Resources…

If potty training is getting you down, let me send you – completely free – the first lesson of my course on how to potty train successfully, even under pressure!
Click here to receive Lesson 1: How to Make This Take the Shortest Amount of Time Possible.

Click here for the free 5-part podcast series on how to get good weeknights with kids.

Click here for the We Turned Out Okay Facebook page.

Click here for the Karen Lock Kolp page in YouTube, where you’ll find helpful videos (like this one on what to do when your child is jumping on the couch for your attention, at the worst possible time.)