Developing Creativity in Children
“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” –Albert Einstein
Creativity plays a large role in developing a child’s physical, emotional and cognitive development. Creativity includes imagination, originality, productivity, and problem solving. Creativity is different than the traditional definition of intelligence (children who score high on intelligence tests are not necessarily highly creative). All children are born with creative potential, and fortunately it can be developed at any time.
Nurturing children’s creativity from a young age will benefit them for years to come, helping build confidence and a better understanding of their surroundings. Developing a childhood interest has been strongly correlated to adult creative achievement. This is essential for developing practical skills that are crucial later in life such as in the workplace. Employers are interested in people who are adaptable, innovative, can solve problems and communicate well with others.
There are many ways to promote creativity in children, but here are a few that might be helpful:
• Foster a Creative Environment: this can range from art projects, playing in the yard, using a wide variety of toys, asking open-ended questions, games, playing with colors, music, exploring nature, reading books and playing puzzles.
• Be a Positive Role Model: don’t tell children what to do, show them what to do.
• Allow Time: it is hard to be creative when you are in a rush. Slow down.
• Build Self-Efficacy in Your Children: let your children do things on their own and give them choices rather than making decisions for them. Let them make mistakes, and respect their ideas. Resist the urge to complete tasks for your children. Children who believe in themselves and their abilities tend not to give in to peer pressure and are more confident in making their own decisions. Encouragement and support are critical.
• Let Your Children Ask “Why” Questions: we all can get easily irritated when asked this question numerous times. Frustration and time constraints may lead us to say “I don’t know” or “Don’t ask stupid questions.” This mode of responding may inhibit children from asking questions in the future, resulting in them being less creative and inquisitive.
Remember, inspiring creativity in your children may take some work, but it can pay dividends later in their lives. And it may also benefit you!