Creativity takes time.
Children live very busy, scheduled lives these days, and moms, whether they work inside the home or out, also lead hectic lives. Free time to hard to come by for most of us. Creativity requires a block of time; it’s not something that can be squeezed in between soccer practice and dinner.
It’s no surprise American kids are no longer as creative as they once were. Besides being busy, we live in a world obsessed with numbers, data, and test scores. I’m concerned about the decline in creativity in our children and how it will impact their capacities to innovate and problem solve.
The point of creativity is the joy of the process rather than the product of discovery. We are all born with the ability to create and express ourselves in a way that encourages us to connect with others. The lack of this connection can sometimes lead to different forms of emotional and behavioral problems such as anxiety and depression, while having this connection can foster improved self-confidence and self worth.
Creativity is a muscle we all have. Use it or lose it.
Some of us don’t believe we are creative. Not true, we all have creativity inside us in one form or another. In order to encourage our kids (and ourselves) to create, we need to expand our definition of creativity beyond the arts. Creativity is where ingenuity and innovation lead to amazing things in art, science and technology. Encourage your children to be curious and get them to focus on the products of their imagination. Doing so helps fuel both their individual mental health and the world at large.
Make creativity a part of every day
You may be wondering how you can possibly make time to bring creativity into your already overscheduled daily lives. It does take some effort, but there are many ways to get your kids to think outside the box. Being silly and playful with them is a great start. Actually producing something is even better. For example, let them help you make up a new recipe for the morning eggs. Build a story together with you providing the first sentence; your child can give the next sentence and so on. The effort that we supply when we actually make things with our kids helps them to learn new and innovative techniques for thinking. Modeling creative behavior can inspire your kids to think about the world in new and different ways and may help you and your family to lead richer and more interesting lives.
Ways to encourage creativity in kids:
- Play pretend – Play dress-up or have a puppet show with your kids. Role play a funny scenario together. You are never too old to play pretend!
- Turn up the music – Music always gets kids excited. Turn on the volume and dance!
- Start with a blank canvas – Put some newspaper on the kitchen table and give your kids paper plates or a blank piece of paper. Let them paint freely and experiment with a few different colors. Stay away from the coloring or paint by number books; you don’t want your kids to color inside the lines! Pump up the music and sing along while painting.
- Give up control – Relinquishing control is easier said than done! But you will find your children take on a new sense of ownership with their work when you do so. Before you know it, they’ll be coming up with their own ideas and approaches; new ones about which you hadn’t even thought.
- Set aside space and time for creativity. Adequate space is essential for comfortable creativity, and time even more so. Children, especially younger ones, will get to that creative space on their own, in their own time.
- Think like an engineer – in other words, help your child be someone who can find a solution for a problem or challenge. Create an age appropriate puzzle or problem and then allow time for them to solve it. Learning this skill will help your child tremendously in navigating new situations in the future.
The bottom line: We all have creativity in one form or another inside us. Find the space and time to unleash this part of yourself and inspire your children!