Most parents know there’s no proven solution guaranteed to spark creativity in children. Sure, there are exercises that help boost creativity, but the actual practice of being a creative takes a unique blend of inherent traits and proper training. Don’t get me wrong, every child has the full potential to tap into their creative side, and it’s important that they don’t lose their inherent creativity as they get older.
Robert McGarvey discusses this phenomenon in his study of creativity with children titled “Creative Thinking.” In it, McGarvey notes that when we confine kids to learning via coloring books or structured activities; they lose sight of how to interpret things on their own. I know a lot of parents debate this quite a bit —how much you should let your children roam free versus how much structure you should implement. And while that decision should be based on your child’s specific needs and characteristics, there are several ways to harbor creativity in your kids and instill lifelong creative habits.
The Basics of Being Creative
Creativity spans a number of different interests and practices. Creativity does not just refer to playing a musical instrument or painting a picture; it also relates to interpreting the world on one’s own terms. It’s important to note that there’s a big difference between teaching creativity and nurturing it. Quite simply, you can cultivate a creative environment without teachers, and in some cases, that might just be the most advantageous route to go.
As the folks over at Berklee’s Greater Good Magazine note, there are several ways to transform your household into a creative space. An excellent example the article discusses is using an encouraging dialogue at home, such as hosting brainstorming sessions at the dinner table. Additionally, stocking your house with artistic materials, including paper, paint, and journals, is also a good way to encourage expression on a regular basis. for them to be creative with as a habit for them to pick up.
While this stuff seems rudimentary,many people struggle to maintain creative havens; parents are often excited by the notion of encouraging arts and crafts, but as life gets in the way, they tend to place this goal on the backburner. It’s imperative that parents consistently supply kids with the right tools and words of encouragement to hone creative thinking and skills.
The Tools Of The Trade (and how to pick them)
Most of us probably know by now the standard things we encourage our kids to do, but we may not always be cognisant of the benefits. For example, as PBS notes—a big reason that music is taught in school is that it trains the mind differently. According to National Education Association, the same can be said for learning a new language; when we learn an instrument or dialect, we’re challenging our mind in new ways. These new challenges boost our abilities to view things from new perspectives and think outside the box.
Take the time to sit down with your child and figure out what they like and what they don’t like. Be patient with your approach, and try to be as encouraging as possible. I know we want to see our child stick to one thing and get better at it as a lesson in improvement, but that’s not always going to be the case.
Instead, pay attention to how much time they voluntarily spend on an activity and spark discussions about it. Asking them why they like to draw or write, and challenging them to go further with it, is an essential component of exercising creative muscles. Plus, when your kids see you taking an active interest in their hobbies, it creates a sense of support that will fuel their interests even more. Harboring creativity in the household is also beneficial for you, as it offers bonding time and the opportunity for you to learn a new skill or pick up a new hobby, as well.
We all want our children to tap into their creative potential to the fullest but they may need a little push along the way. Who knows? Maybe one day they’ll become writers or illustrators as a result of their lifelong pursuit.