I made up my mind early on, that I wasn’t going to be one of those mums who used technology to avoid engaging fully. I’m a doer, and I want Jack and Izzie to be as creative as possible. Right from the start I was keen to find out exactly how to encourage creativity in a child.
Of course, I‘m happy to let them watch TV when it is appropriate. And I get it that most children’s idea of fun these days is having with an iPad in their hands. But I refuse to let my two sit mindlessly staring at any kind of device for hours on end.
As parents, we know that our children have to have a good mix of physical and mental pursuits to fill their after-school time with. But in this modern age it becomes increasingly hard to encourage our children to be creative, when there are seemingly more fun things to do. Even at 5 there is peer pressure!
So, why should parents nurture creativity in a child?
Developing an interest in creative arts like music, dance, drama and drawing is very important to a child’s development. Arts offer an opportunity for children to explore their cultural and individual identity – a different way to develop their thoughts, opinions and feelings.
In fact, it’s been shown that children who participate in more creative activities have better social, intellectual and language development. Without our encouragement as parents, as children grow older they often become less confident in their artistic abilities.
This means they may be missing out on key opportunities and experiences to further their development. Knowing how to encourage creativity in a child can make all the difference.
Here are my favourite 5 ways that I use to encourage my children to be more creative. And to improve creativity in the process.
Show interest in their creative expression
Trying to get your child interested in an instrument they don’t want to play won’t work. Neither will dragging them around art exhibitions when they don’t want to be there. This is more about taking an active interest in what you child shows is a creative interest for them. Finding lessons, providing them with equipment and offering help can all nurture their creative expression.
Let your child try out a few different things
What they seem to be interested in initially may turn out to be too challenging or not jibing with their personality. Remember not to pull your child out of any creative activity unless they are truly unhappy doing it. Children need to learn the important lesson that confidence in their creativity comes with time and practice.
Remember that creativity is a vital part of every child’s development. You never know, you may even discover some of your own creative interests in the process.
Go out on creative adventures
Getting the family making crafts in nature is a great way to improve creativity in children. There are so many artistic activities specifically for children out there, particularly during the school holidays. Take your children along to these groups and test the waters to see which artistic outlet your child enjoys the most.
Praise and encourage them
When your child does express their creativity, take the time to praise their efforts and give their activity your full attention. This is why we stick our children’s paintings on the fridge. Not because they are great works of art, but because it lets our children know that we value their creative expression. Avoid any negative comments when giving your children your feedback, and always encourage them to take care of any instruments or equipment they use.
Encouraging creativity in your children doesn’t have to be related to a specific art or craft. There are lots of activities that can encourage creativity. Singing and dancing are also great ways to encourage your child to be more creative.