Many people feel that those who work in the arts are the only ones who need to use creativity. However, this is not necessarily true. Creativity is a valuable skill for all people to develop. Without a creative mind, inventions would never have been created, unconventional cures for disease would never have been attempted and new innovations would never have been undertaken. Creativity is not limited to the arts. People of all interests can use creativity to think of new products and new ways of doing things.
Because of the technological age in which we live, many children feel uncomfortable when they are not being entertained by television, video games or computers. These children need to develop their creativity. Besides simply limiting access to video games and television, parents can do other things to help their children develop creative skills.
1. Let your child get bored.
Boredom is not a bad thing. When a child complains of boredom, many parents feel that they should jump in with a suggestion of something for the child to do. However, rather than offering a video or snack when a child says that he is bored, parents may want to just point the child in the general direction of something to do. For instance, instead of telling the child to draw a picture, a parent can pull out the art supplies and ask the child, “What do you think would be fun to make?” Instead of offering to help the child make a fort, the parent should simply offer him a stack of old sheets and pillows, telling him, “Can you think of something cool to make with this stuff?”
2. Allow your child plenty of time for free play.
In this day, many people have extra money to spend on lessons and activities for their children. Kids as young as three or four years old have full schedules of ballet, soccer and music lessons. This busyness keeps kids from having to come up with ideas to keep themselves occupied. Although having some outside activities is fine for kids, parents should not keep their kids so busy that the children have no time to play. Child development experts say that learning creativity by participating in unstructured play-time is just as important as learning sportsmanship by playing on a Little League baseball team.
3. Slow down, and show interest in your child’s creative efforts
Many parents have so much to do that slowing down and listening to their child’s prattle can be challenging. However, children love it when their parents take interest in their imaginative play. Parents should ask their children about what is happening in the artwork that the kids have made. They should ask the child to make up stories about their stuffed animals or other toys. Also, parents may want to play along. Children love it when parents step into the world of childhood, and doing this encourages the child to repeat the process.
4. Always respect your child’s creativity.
Parents should never criticize or correct their children’s creative efforts. Children can be very sensitive to such things, so parents should simply smile and enjoy the mistakes and imperfections of their kids’ work. Stories can be misspelled, crayon can be be out of the lines and figures can be misshapen. It is all a part of a child’s learning process, and if the child is happy with the end product, the parents should be too. Additionally, parents should be careful to never compare the work of siblings, but they should allow each child to develop his or her own unique style.
Encouraging creativity does not mean that parents will never hear their children complain about boredom again. However, creativity is a life-long skill that will serve children well in school and later into adulthood.
Nisha represents a site called ActiveKiddies.co.uk. She enjoys writing about parenting tips and offering support and help for mums. Feel free to visit her site for more information on a Mums Blog.