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Friday, September 1, 2017

Can't Create, Won't Create: Encouraging Ongoing Creativity In Your Children

We all know that creativity is important. Creative people tend to be more empathetic, open minded, and generally happier. And, a study published in The Journal of Positive Psychology proved as much. Yet, society still fails to nurture creativity as much as many would argue it should.

This is particularly the case when it comes to children. As Pablo Picasso said, “Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.”. Any parent knows about the creative beauty of a child’s mind. Unhindered, children paint, sing and make things daily. It’s a natural side effect of letting kids be kids. Even the act of play is a creation for youngsters. You only have to listen to the elaborate story lines which go hand in hand with their games. 


But somewhere along the way, children fall into the same trap we did - they lose that creative spark. For many parents, the moment happens without notice. It’s all part of growing up, isn’t it? 
In truth, though, it doesn’t have to be. In fact, if you nurture your child’s creativity, they could take it forward into later life. They’ll keep that open minded attitude, and with it, the belief that anything is possible. They may even decide to opt for one of the creative career paths on offer. 

But, how do you nurture creativity? In truth, it’s an easy task. With a little attention to detail, the matter will take care of itself. Creativity is always there, after all. It won’t take much work to encourage it. To see how easy it can be, follow these steps and reap the results. 

Make their room a creative space

Our rooms say a lot about us, especially when we’re growing up. This will be the first space your child calls theirs. As such, it’s the ideal place to put your creative plan into action. Making a creative bedroom for your child can be a lot of fun. Plus, it’s a relatively easy way to encourage them into a creative headspace. 

The main thing to consider is that creativity varies for us all. Make sure to get your child’s opinion on what you include in the decor. Think, too, about how their creativity most often manifests. If they love painting, for example, you could buy some art prints you’re sure they would love. Hanging these around the place means they’ll have inspiration all around them. 

If you’re feeling brave, you could even entrust them to help you paint the walls. This is their room, so let go of the standards you hold through the rest of your house. If they want to cover their walls in hand prints, let them do it. This is the kind of creation only a child could think of, and you may well be impressed with how well it turns out. 


And, it’s not only the big gestures that are important in a creative bedroom. As the furniture plays a huge role, it’s worth turning your attention to this, too. Instead of getting them a standard desk and chair, why not look into more interesting kids chairs, like beanbags, or hammocks? 
Instead of sticking to a standard bed frame, you could buy one in the shape of a character, or animal. Small changes like this will make a big difference to the overall look of the room. 

It’s also worth considering where you could incorporate a creative space. After all, your efforts will go to waste if your kid can’t create in their room. Again, think about their favorite artistic outlet. For painters, a desk with all their supplies on it would be ideal. For musicians, a chill corner with the bean bags mentioned above would work wonders. You could even develop a play area for a child who expresses their creativity that way. Take inspiration from play schools, and develop the set of a home or a hospital. And don’t forget to provide the dressing up clothes to go along with it! 

Encourage every hobby

During their early years, you child’s hobbies will be incredibly formative. While it may seem irrelevant whether they join recorder club or not, it could make all the difference. As the parent, it’s your job to encourage and facilitate every hobby your little one has.

This can be a frustrating undertaking in many ways. While they try their best to find their creative footing, they may start and stop a variety of expensive classes. It’s disheartening when they give up on things, but it’s also part and parcel of the creative process. By chopping and changing like this, they’re discovering their tastes. Each hobby will take them closer to what’s right for them. 

Of course, you can’t just throw money at their creativity without question. And, let’s not forget that children often want to do things because their friends are. The good news is, it’s usually easy to tell whether that’s the case. If a hobby comes entirely out of the blue, it may well be that a friend is a driving force. 

In this instance, it’s still important not to stop their explorations. After all, you don’t know whether this is the creative outlet for them. Stranger things have happened. But, it’s worth acting with trepidation. Instead of signing them up for classes straight away, let them try things out at home. If they’re still passionate after six months of practice, reconsider classes. 

It’s also worth considering alternatives for those hobbies you’re sure they really want to try. While some classes ask for an upfront payment for six months or more, it’s not always the case. Shop around and see if you can find a class with a weekly fee. That way, it doesn’t matter if they change their mind. 

Even if that isn’t an option, most classes will let you pay for a tester week. Even if this isn’t advertised, it’s worth asking. You may pay over the odds for that one lesson, but at least you’ll save yourself money if things don’t work out. 

Bear in mind, too, that encouragement isn’t only about paying for their lessons. You can encourage them on an emotional level by listening to them play or watching them dance. If karate is their thing, you may even be able to go along and watch. Make sure, too, to give them plenty of chances to speak about what they love. When we’re passionate about something, after all, we could talk about it all day! 

Engage your creativity

The best parents lead by example. You are your child’s most prominent role model. While it may not seem like it a lot of the time, they look to you for lessons on how to act. It’s part of the reason most of us turn into our parents as we get older. 

From a creative standpoint, this can be difficult. If you don’t create, there’s a distinct possibility that they’ll turn out being the same. As they grow and change, the creativity you’ve worked hard to nurture may leave the building. Of course, this could happen no matter what you do. But, engaging your own creativity makes it much less likely. 

This will be easier said than done if you haven’t practiced these behaviors since your childhood. But, remember that creativity is always below the surface. Besides which, you don’t have to go crazy with this. Hopping aboard the adult coloring book trend would do the trick. 

Or, you could take this excuse to learn something new. Have you always wanted to play guitar? Now’s the time to do it. Or, perhaps you’d love to learn to sew or cook better. You can now permit yourself to do so, and rest easy that it’s for the greater good. 

Joint creative activities

Engaging in joint creative activities is also worthwhile. This is particularly important when your child is young. Before they start school, their only creative experiences are ones you give them. So, you should make sure to set aside at least an hour each day for the cause. A painting session one day and a baking hour the next are all it takes. You could even stock up on some toy instruments and have music sessions. 

And, the fun needn’t stop because your child gets older. You could sign up for classes together and use the time for bonding. This is the ideal way to engage creativity and enjoy each other's company. Bear in mind, though, that you both need to be on board. If you jump in on your child’s plan without consulting them, they may feel you’re cramping their style. To avoid the eventuality, make sure all creative undertakings are a joint pursuit. 

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many ways to ensure a creative upbringing for your child. And, once you’ve done the above, you can sit back and let their innate creative impulses take charge. In the right environment, they’re sure to stay strong, even past your kid’s younger years!