Many parents assume that creativity is a talent their children either have or don’t have. However, it’s possible to foster creativity in your kids! Encouraging creativity can help with developing social skills and decision making, as well as fostering a sense of independence and confidence. The following are a few ways to help your child’s creativity flourish:
- Provide time for unstructured play
Putting your kids into creative activities such as drama camps or art classes can help build skills, but the best way to foster creativity in kids is through unstructured play. Give your child the time and space to play unencumbered; for their next birthday, ask for creativity boosting toys such as plain Legos, dress up clothes, art supplies, or building materials.
- Make a creative home
Create a home environment that allows creativity to flourish. In addition to providing things such as art supplies or dress up clothes, encourage kids to think in new and creative ways. Over dinner, ask them to come up with a list of three things they’ve never tried before to do during the upcoming weekend. Likewise, reassure them if they fail at something; kids afraid of failure are less likely to come up with creative ideas or solutions.
- Give kids reasonable autonomy
Give your child the autonomy to make their own decisions and choices – within reason. While choosing not to do homework isn’t realistic, giving them the freedom to pick out their own clothes or pack their own lunches.
- Download creativity-boosting apps
Kids of all ages love screen time. Use it to your advantage by downloading creativity-boosting apps such as drawing pads, fairy tale makers, or piano tutorials.
- Encourage reading for pleasure
Help your child explore the genres and types of literature they enjoy. Encourage them to read for pleasure – outside of what they are required to do for school – by taking them to the local library, finding books that mirror their current interests, or signing them up for a summer reading program.
- Try not to focus simply on achievements
As parents, we often put too much pressure onto what our children achieve. Instead, try to emphasize the “process” rather than the “product”. Ask about their process with questions like, “Did you have fun?” “What did you learn?” and “How would you improve or change it for next time?”