Creativity is an important skill for people of all ages, but it is especially important for children. Creativity helps children to solve problems, think outside the box, and express themselves in new and unique ways. There are many things that parents can do to nurture their child’s creativity.
Here are five ways to nurture your child’s creativity:
1. Designate a space for creating.
We all want to create. The problem is, many of us aren’t sure how to even start – where to create, what to create and how to create. By setting aside a space specifically for creating, whether it is writing, drawing, painting, pottery, or just getting crafty, children are able to draw inspiration from the space itself. Make the space airy and light-filled. Decorate the area with your child’s work, or art and nature that inspires your child.
Here are some tips for creating a creative space for your child:
- Choose a space that is well-lit and has plenty of room to move around.
- Provide your child with a variety of materials to work with, such as art supplies, building blocks, and dress-up clothes.
- Encourage your child to display their work in the space.
- Make the space a place where your child feels comfortable experimenting and making mistakes.
2. Allow for free time.
Do you pack your child’s schedule with class after class – music, tuition, swimming, etc? While enrichment can be beneficial, it is equally important to make sure your child has free time. And let this free time really be free time. Do not create rules for what they should or should not do here. Let them daydream, let them rest, let them play, get curious. The less control there is, the more naturally ideas start to develop.
Here are some tips for allowing your child to have free time:
- Schedule some time each day for your child to have free time.
- During this time, let your child choose what they want to do.
- Avoid scheduling activities during this time.
- If your child is struggling to come up with something to do, offer some suggestions, but don’t force them to do anything they don’t want to do.
3. Make daily exercise part of your child’s life.
Even as adults we all know how important exercise is, both to our physical body and our mental state of mind. Imagine what exercise can do for your child. This is the time they get to be active, discover who they are, what their strengths are, and how to problem-solve in the face of exhaustion. Whether it is a walk in the park, a football game, swimming or simply running, encourage your child to get sweaty and even dirty.
Here are some tips for making daily exercise part of your child’s life:
- Find an activity that your child enjoys.
- Make exercise a family activity.
- Set small goals for your child.
- Praise your child’s efforts.
4. Encourage conversation, don’t spoon-feed your child.
As parents, we want to give our child all the answers. We want them to grow into intelligent young adults. However, by spoon-feeding them with answers to every question, we may actually be doing more harm than good. We end up stifling their growth.
So instead, when they ask you questions like why the sky is blue, don’t just tell them, and don’t shut it down either. Let them question it more. Talk about it with your child. Let the question and conversation around it linger. Eventually the answer will come to them, and it will be an answer they remember for life.
Here are some tips for encouraging conversation with your child:
- Listen to your child attentively.
- Ask open-ended questions.
- Encourage your child to share their thoughts and ideas.
- Avoid judging or criticising your child’s answers.
- Be patient. It may take some time for your child to feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas.
5. Be an example of a creative person.
Children follow everything you do. Notice how they use words that surprise you? That is how quickly and easily children pick up things around them. The best way to nurture a creative child is to be creative yourself. Look at some of our best musicians and artists today. Quite a number of them have parents who were creative themselves. They grew up surrounded by creative work. By pursuing your own hobbies, you empower your child to do the same.
Here are some tips for being an example of a creative person for your child:
- Share your own creative work with your child.
- Talk to your child about your creative process.
- Take your child to museums, art galleries, and other creative events.
- Encourage your child to try new creative activities.
- Be supportive of your child’s creative endeavours.