More often than not, creativity is not as celebrated as it should be. However, creative thinking has a significant role in a child’s growth and brain development. No matter if the child will choose to focus on the creative industry when they reach adulthood or not, fostering creativity from a young age and letting their imagination run its course is vital in any field and industry. Besides, expressing yourself creatively can lead you to discover a hobby, which will help maintain a balance between work and personal time.
But for your child to put their imagination and creativity to use in whatever profession they choose, later on, it is vital you give them the right tools that encourage this from a young age. This way, they will grow to appreciate the importance of creativity and apply it in many aspects of their life, both professionally and personally.
So, the question arises: how do you successfully foster creative thinking in children?
1. Show interest and participate
When your child starts showing an inclination towards something that isn’t necessarily directly related to school but instead is an extracurricular creative activity, listen to their wishes. This can help them discover their likes and dislikes. Therefore, if you notice your child having a desire to create and explore their imagination, it is essential you don’t overlook this aspect, thinking it might not be a priority.
Besides supporting them by allowing the space for creative freedom and letting them try different activities from an early stage, you also need to participate. This means that you could get involved in certain creative activities, such as painting. Not only is this a chance for you to observe them and get to know them, but it is also an opportunity to strengthen your parent-child relationship. Therefore, if your child is taking an interest in a particular sport or a creative endeavor, show an interest as well and be part of the activity when you can.
2. Offer them the chance to try things
It is of the utmost importance you celebrate and encourage curiosity. So, if your child is particularly interested in a creative activity, take advantage of this opportunity to give them the proper environment or provide them with the right tools. This way, both you and your child will be able to see if this is truly a passion or not. And even though it turns out the child doesn’t enjoy it that much, it is still an experience where they harnessed their creativity.
Similarly, if you take them to piano classes, for instance, but they lose interest after a while, it is important not to force them to continue. Instead, allow them to try other things. They might want to create handmade objects. If your child is taking an interest in arts and crafts and wants to make various things like beaded bracelets, sashes, or rosettes that they could use for their birthday celebration, help them try this. You can buy them the necessary tools such as glue, sash ribbon, paint, or other embellishments. You can watch online tutorials together and let your creative juices flow. Who knows, your child might be so talented that this could be more than a hobby. And if not, it will give them the opportunity to explore more.
3. Reward achievements, not creative activities
Recognizing and celebrating achievements at school is essential for building your child’s self-confidence. On a similar note, when mistakes happen, make sure they understand this is a great learning curve and a chance for improvement. However, while rewarding any achievements at school or supporting their taking an interest in something are essential aspects of a child’s development, when it comes to creativity, it’s best to let it run its course.
What this means is not to offer your child incentives to engage in a creative activity. By doing this, you might limit the creative process, and they could end up seeing it as a task rather than a fun activity, which defies the purpose of learning through play. Therefore, instead of forcing their involvement in creative endeavors with rewards, simply let their imagination, creative motivations, and desires dictate the direction in which they want to go.
4. Limit digital use, but don’t forbid it
The fact is, with technological innovations being developed so quickly and devices such as smartphones representing an indispensable object for many people worldwide, it isn’t difficult that younger generations can become instantly attached to them. So, forbidding the use of digital gadgets will draw more attention to them, and your child could start developing feelings of frustration.
Besides, as technology is here to stay, banning its use or that of the internet can have long-term consequences if your child is not familiar with adequately using technology. The key is to limit digital use, not ban it entirely, and, depending on your child’s age, download only child-appropriate content.
What’s more, playing on the tablet, console or smartphone can be beneficial to your child’s development and creative growth. There are many games that can nurture a child’s cognitive skills and increase their attention and ability to retain information, as well as their creativity. Combining games that have educational benefits with technology can be extremely helpful for a child, as this can foster necessary and transferable skills.
5. School trips are personal growth opportunities
As a parent, you might feel anxious to let your child go on a school trip, no matter how many days it is. And this is understandable. However, there are many advantages that you have to take into consideration, as they support your child’s development. Besides being a fantastic opportunity to foster social skills and interact with their colleagues outside of the classroom, it is also a valuable experience to have, that will nurture their imagination and cultivate their creativity.
Camps, for example, whether they are just for a day or a 7-day long one, are the perfect occasion to develop friendships, discover interests and celebrate a child’s curiosity. Besides the multitude of activities that are meant to encourage creative thinking, which is highly beneficial for children, allowing your child to go on day trips, or camps will also give them the chance to develop a sense of autonomy.