Many people think that creativity is an inherited trait, just like bone structure and hair color. If a child is born to musician parents, then they will probably inherit the music gene. The same probably goes for the offspring of painters and dancers. However, creativity is a skill that can be developed. No one is born talented, so you need to allow the child to exercise their creativity.
Creativity is a key determinant of future success. It’s an essential component of everything we do in life, and our child’s future health and happiness are connected to their capacity for creative thinking. And contrary to popular belief, creativity isn’t just for artistic endeavors. Those interested in science, mathematics, engineering, and allied fields can benefit from improved creativity.
Creative people think outside the box and often present better solutions to problems than their non-creative counterparts. They’re also more versatile and adaptable, especially when it comes to change. However, we might be hindering our child’s creative development in ways we might not even realize. Sending your child to a music teacher is a good start, but it’s not enough. Here are a few ways you can support your child’s creativity.
1. Encourage unstructured play
Children should be left alone to do what they want during their playtime. While it’s still important to stick to a routine, children should be given the opportunity to explore their creativity without an adult setting the agenda. Make sure to give them something they can use, whether it’s building blocks, musical instruments, or art supplies.
Block out an afternoon for unstructured play. Make sure to give them a dedicated space where they can be themselves. Children are unencumbered by concerns for cleanliness and order, so make sure to pick a spot you wouldn’t mind a mess. If children are left to choose what they want to do, they can discover new things about themselves.
2. Allow them to have an opinion
Parents often decide every aspect of their child’s lives, to the detriment of their child’s emotional and creative development. Give your child a voice and allow them to express their opinion without judgment. This will help develop their critical thinking and make them more decisive. For instance, if you’re going out for the weekend, ask them what they want to do.
If your child wants to sing, dance, act, or draw, let them be and join in on the fun. Seeing an adult figure doing something they love will help solidify that creative pursuits are valid forms of expression. Show your appreciation in all activities they take part in. Take photos and videos of them singing or dancing.
3. Apply creative thinking to everyday concepts
When people talk about creativity, they usually mean music, art, drama, and the like. However, creativity encompasses everything we do in day-to-day life. It’s all about using our imagination to produce solutions for everyday problems. If your child has a question or has difficulty understanding a topic, don’t spoon-feed the answer. Allow them to find the answer by themselves, or with the help of their peers.
It also helps to take advantage of technology. There are thousands of videos online that simplify complex topics, and a tech-savvy child will certainly respond to that. You can also ask them questions to help spur their creative thinking.
4. Allow your child to fail
Failure is a great teacher and will help your child become a more resilient and creative thinker. Children who are afraid of failure are less likely to take risks when they become older. They will also hold themselves back for fear of other peoples’ judgment. Show them that failure is a normal part of life and allows us to become a better version of ourselves.
5. Let them disagree
Education isn’t about teaching children the right answers to a question. It’s about giving them the tools and background to help them solve problems and form their own opinions. IF you and your child are talking about a contentious topic, allow them to express an opinion that isn’t your own. Don’t punish them for disagreeing with you.
The bottom line
Children feel the need to fit in, but you must show them that it’s perfectly normal to be different. Give them the freedom to pursue whatever they want. Teach them that they don’t have to follow what society expects them to do.