How do you, as a parent, see creativity? Parents often perceive it as a naturally occurring talent in their kids, one they don’t need any guidance or help to develop or unleash over time. Many moms and dads equate imagination with creativity, while the two are inextricably connected, yet profoundly different: creativity implies using your imagination, while having imagination doesn’t come with the promise of creativity. So as parents, it is our duty to do our best to foster both.
By helping your kids explore their inner worlds and express themselves in numerous creative ways, we will ultimately help them unlock their true creative potential.
1. Provide them with a creative space
In the same way our youngsters are influenced by the people we surround them with, their minds are shaped by their environment, too. Surround them with something curious to play with, something fun and quirky to look at, and their minds will thrive.
How about building them their own play room or a play area within their bedroom where they can fully express their creativity? With plenty of colours, shapes, and textures to experience, and with many different creative outlets, your kids can begin to create and not only perceive the world around them. Think: a reading nook, a space corner, a painting area, a music hideout, or a mini lab for their science projects. They’ll love it!
2. Encourage their playtime
When your little ones explore, experience, and create, they inadvertently begin to learn. However, you can maximize their potential for learning by letting them join an educative playgroup that is tailor-made to their age. With the help and guidance of an educated teacher by their side, and surrounded by their peers, your kids can actually learn while they play in the most inspiring environment for their age.
Add to that, hours of unstructured play at home will help them develop all kinds of skills, cognitive and motor alike. In a group, they’ll master social skills from a young age, learn from observing as well as practice, and combine their own solutions with those of others. On their own, they’ll be more self-reliant and grow more curious by the day!
3. Let them explore their options
It’s lovely that you’re a music buff or a science geek, but your offspring may not have the same proclivities as you do. They’ll naturally get in touch with things that interest you the most. They’ll see you having fun with making cupcakes, fixing your car, gardening, taking photos, or whatever else you may be doing.
But let them play with their own talents and interests. Offer them a wide range of options, because you are the first person to introduce them to the world. They need to know they can join a karate class, take up dance lessons, or learn to play chess. Only when you let them explore can you truly see their creative potential fulfilled.
4. Ask and inspire important questions
As much as it is about providing them with the means to venture into creative thinking and find the outlets they’ll enjoy, it’s also about moulding your own mindset. As a parent, you may find yourself wondering how you can modify your own role in the creative process.
It’s quite simple: communicate. Show interest in those little works of art your kids create. Showcase them on the walls, or on the fridge. Ask them about their process, how they create, what they see in them, how they feel while creating. Get the conversation going so that they start asking questions, too.
5. Empower independence
Helicopter parenting rears its ugly little head in many shapes and forms, even when you least expect it. As prone as we are to being controlling and protective when our kids start school and when they’re still deeply influenced by their environment, we also tend to exhibit similar behaviour at home.
If you find yourself guiding them too much when they are painting a picture or putting together that Lego truck – let it go. Let them go through their own thought processes, develop new solutions, and manage hurdles on their own. This will help them develop creative thinking, problem solving, dexterity, and not to mention an agile mind.
Parenting will always be filled with challenges, but one of your primary roles is to make sure your kids learn who they want to be and what they want to do in this world. Let them express their creative selves, to explore their imagination, and you’ll help them grow up to be creative, happy individuals!