March 31, 2022

Encouraging Creative Thinking

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Creative thinking is critical for problem solving, resilience and to succeeding in life. As a parent, there are many things we have to do to help our kids become their best creative selves. Here are eight tips to help you foster creativity in your children no matter how old they are.

Make time for arts and crafts.
Arts and crafts is usually the first thing that comes to mind when parents think about encouraging creative thinking in their children, and that is for a good reason. Keep a selection of art supplies on hand and periodically refresh your stash with new craft supplies to keep things interesting. If your kids are little, you might need to provide more direction for example by saying "let's try finger painting today!", however with older children they can choose whatever craft they enjoy. Make sure that they have clothing they can get messy, such as some toddler boy pants, and have a dedicated craft space where it is easy to clean up spills and splatters, even if it is just the kitchen table.

Encourage the pursuit of creative hobbies.
Many different hobbies from playing a musical instrument to acting in a play allows children to express creativity in a different way. When your child is young, it's a good idea to try out as many of these options as possible to give them a chance to explore their options. As they get older, they will probably end up gravitating towards one or two options that they can pursue more in depth.

Let them free play often.
It is tempting to pack every moment of your children's day full of creative projects, but this can actually backfire and stifle creative thinking in the long run. Creative thinking is all about letting your imagination run wild and exploring all the possibilities, which is why unstructured playtime is essential for a children's development. Your child should have free time every day where they can do whatever they want within reason, of course, whether that is sitting in the corner and daydreaming while they doodle or putting on cute dresses for toddler girls and pretending to be a princess.

Teach them how to think creatively.
Creativity is not just about what you do. It is also how you think and, thankfully, there are plenty of things you can do to encourage creative thinking. Posing "what if" scenarios and asking them to consider alternative worlds is one way to get started. For example, saying What if animals could talk? What would that be like?. You can also ask them to solve problems, both real and hypothetical. The first solutions they propose are likely to be obvious, so encourage them to offer multiple solutions and push them to go beyond the conventional and really stretch their imaginations.

Read out loud together.
Reading transports your child to new worlds, whether you are reading out loud together or they are old enough to read silently by themselves. Encourage their love of reading by trying a variety of genres to see which ones they love the most. Choose books that they love to make reading a positive experience, rather than a chore, which will foster a lifelong passion for reading that will serve them well. Once you all find your groove, try to read at least a little bit every day to help build this essential skill and encourage creative thinking.

Help them find creative role models.
It is known that children learn from watching other people do the same activities, so helping them to find a creative role model can help them. This might be as simple as looking up to a slightly older child who enjoys the same arts and crafts they do, but it can also involve them looking at the works of art teachers or famous artists. There are many different ways that you can help your children find creative role models from taking them to kids' art classes to looking at art in museums to listening to music albums. Try a variety of them to see what works for your child.

Take them on field trips.
Artists know that going to a new environment is one of the best things you can do to inspire creativity, and this is true for children as well as adults. As much as you can, take them on adventures, which can be as simple as a trip to a new playground or a walk at a local park. Of course, more official field trips like visiting a museum or aquarium are also great for this, but drawing inspiration from everyday experiences will encourage them to be even more creative. Connect your arts and crafts time back to these trips by asking children to draw or paint some of things they observe.

Don’t incentivize or reward them.
Modern parenting theory has moved away from punishing children for bad behaviour to incentivizing them for positive behaviour. It is important not to give incentives this when it comes to creativity as children need to pursue creativity for the intrinsic fulfillment not because they are competing for parents' praise or some kind of reward even if it's something small like a sticker. Your child should find enjoyment and value in being creative, even when it doesn't win them anything.

These tips will help foster your children's creativity and encourage them to think outside the box. Encouraging creativity takes both work and letting go, but it is so worth it to watch your child flourish and find fulfillment in being creative.

Please note that all opinions and thoughts expressed are my own. All rights reserved on photographs and written content Createwithmom © 2010 - 2022. Please Ask First

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