How to Raise a Creative Child
May 24, 2012
© Melissa Taylor
If you want to raise creative children, you need to know what fosters creativity. How do you intentionally encourage creativity?
Plus, if you've been reading about the future work environment, you know that creativity will be essential to success.
Four Creativity Essentials
Stress kills creativity. It’s why I don’t support excessive scheduling or homework -- both create stress and mental exhaustion. For kids to be creative, we must give their brains relaxed time. Time to nap, read, take a walk -- those kind of things. (For more on this read chapter 2 in Jonah Lehrer’s book, Imagine .) Adults, this is why our best ideas come to us in long showers when our brains are relaxed.
Research shows that when we fail, we learn more than when we succeed . When our kids fail, we can use that experience to help them learn from it. It’s the way that Pixar starts out every day – with their failures. This allows them to learn from each other’s mistakes and leads to more creative ideas. ( Imagine, chapter 6)
Pretend play is one of the most beneficial ways a parent can foster creativity. Give your child time, props, and ideas for pretending. The research shows that “preschoolers who spend more time role-playing have high measures of creativity.”
Opportunities to Invent and Create
The term open-ended means that there is no end product expected. Open-ended play allows children to create whatever they can imagine. One of my biggest problems with Lego is that almost everything comes in kits. Following directions isn't open-ended, and not my highest goal for my kids. I want my kids to figure stuff out on their own. That leads to creative, divergent thinking. So buy blocks, paints, and play dough and let your kids figure and create.
Are you with me? What questions do you have?
Of course, we can to foster creativity at home with these four guidelines but what about school? Next week, let's look at how schools can encourage or kill creativity.
Melissa Taylor is a freelance writer, an award-winning educational blogger at ImaginationSoup, an award-winning teacher with a M.A. in Education, and a mom of two children, ages 6 and 9. Follow Taylor on Twitter or find her on Facebook.
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