As a parent it’s only natural to want your child to reach their full intellectual and creative potential. While doing well in academics will without a doubt give your child a huge advantage all their lives–what’s more important is that they derive lifelong joy from learning, exploration and natural curiosity.
Raising a child with a creative bent of mind can be both challenging and fun for young parents. The first step is to understand that creativity is more skill than inborn talent, and one that you can help your kids develop through the years.
Here’s how you can start:–
- Find answers together. As your child grows older, they will ask questions that you might not necessarily have the answers to. Rather than guessing the answer, a better response is, “I don’t know” and add, “Let’s find the correct answer.” Then you could do some research with your child in order to find the answer.
- Teach them how to cook. Cooking, and especially baking, is an incredibly creative process. Once your kids learn the basics–making cookies or frying an omelet–let them experiment. Don’t correct them beforehand unless they are endangering themselves, others or your kitchen. By experimenting and seeing what happens, they will learn a valuable creative process.
- Encourage them to make mistakes and fail. If your child is afraid of failure and judgment, it will curb their creative thoughts. Tell them about the mistakes you’ve made recently, so they get the idea that it’s okay to mess up. Laughing at yourself when you do is a happiness habit that will take your child a long way.
- Encourage them to participate in the arts and read for pleasure. Limit their TV and other screen time in order to make room for creative activities like acting out a play, reading fiction, learning to sketch, crafting knick-knacks for the house, designing their own clothes, etc.
- Provide them with resources that will help in creative expression. You can start off with having a basic inventory of art supplies at home–blank papers, crayons, oil paints, fresh markers, glue sticks, etc.
- Designate a space for them to use–their study table for crafting/painting or a corner in the family room for their Lego, where they are free to make their creative mess.
- Provide them with unstructured playtime. Instead of telling your child what activity you want them to do, let them take the lead. Your child needs the “white canvas” time in their day where it’s completely up to them to CREATE the activity they want to do.
- Take them outside! There’s no greater source of inspiration than the great outdoors. Cut out the computer/TV/video-gaming time, by taking your child to the park, the zoo, or a heritage site on the weekends. Encourage them to use their visit as inspiration for their next project–a short story, drawing, poetry or skit.
- Don’t correct immediately. Ask why instead. If your child pronounces a word wrong or uses bad manners at a dinner party, don’t immediately correct them. Ask them “why do you think that?” or “why did you do that?” instead. You will teach them how to question things this way, which is important for a creative mind.
- Get creative yourself! No one understands your child’s personality and interests better than you. So, don’t hold back when encouraging them or gently nudging them towards intellectual and creative pursuits that are best suited for them.
With these fun steps you can raise a child who’s intellectually creative, excited about learning and curious on every level–for the long haul.