By: Ruchita Robinson
Moulding a creative child is possible
You teach your child how to draw a house and make it clear that a house has to have four walls and a roof. Do you know what you are doing with the child? You are limiting his creativity in the box of your own imagination. There are hundreds and thousands of different kinds of houses in the world. Let your child build his own. We are so focused on the final result that we often teach our kids to do the same. When you are looking only at the outcome, you fail to enjoy the beauty of the process that leads to it.
Raising a creative child
Too many rules hinder creativity. One study compared the families of children who were rated among the most creative 5 percent in their school system with those who were not unusually creative. The parents of ordinary children had an average of six rules, like specific schedules for homework and bedtime. Parents of highly creative children had an average of fewer than one rule. If you teach your children to follow a set of rules, it is more likely that they approach problem-solving in the same way. They will either look at how the problem has been solved in the past or try the conventional ways of doing it. Let your child discover his own interests.
Why don't we encourage our kids to be creative? Why can’t we allow them to take risks? The answer is simple -- we fear failure. The society makes norms for success and we follow it. Any deviation from the norm is considered a path to failure. If you take up science at school, you can only become a doctor or an engineer, is what a child is taught. But what if your child wants to become a wildlife biologist or an astronomer?
The first step towards raising a creative child is to back-off. Take a step back and let your child think and make his own decisions. Give them the freedom to discover their interests and encourage them in their natural gifts. Appreciate the child for his creativity We often praise or appreciate the child for the creative work that they have done. If you praise the act of the child opposed to his creativity, the child will always look for your approval or the admiration of the people for the act. For instance, if your child plays Mozart melodies exceptionally well, applaud the child for his creativity and not the tunes that he is playing. This will encourage the child to compose something original.
The reason most of the child prodigies fail to make a difference in their field of expertise is that they start conforming to the rules set by society. They constantly strive to get appreciated by the people around them. This holds them from being unconventional.
Curiosity, the heart of creativity
If you have spent time with little kids, you would know that their favourite question is a small three letter word called “why”. Young children are full of curiosity and imagination. As we get older, we lose the quality of inquisitiveness. If you want to raise a creative child, preserve his curiosity. It is this curiosity which leads to the greatest inventions and discoveries for the betterment of mankind. After all, creativity does not mean accepting things the way they are meant to be. It’s about asking yourself, how can I make this better.
If your child is trying to solve a riddle, do not teach him the conventional way of doing it. Ask him the different ways in which it can be solved. You can also ask him to come up with his own riddle and share it with his friends. Reasoning with your kids is a good way to encourage creative mindsets. Encourage problem-solving activities The most natural way to inculcate creativity in kids is to involve them in problem-solving activities at home. For instance, if you are finding out ways to recycle the waste in the bin, involve them in the process and ask for their ideas. Let them learn that creativity is a part of their daily life. It is not only being authentic but it also means coming up with something that is useful for all.
Give time for unstructured activities We are often so anxious to raise successful children that we pack their day with tight schedules to make them organised and disciplined for future. It is important to give them time to engage in activities that they choose to do. It might not necessarily be going to a practice session of table tennis but might just be watching light entering through the hole and trying to figure out the particles moving with it or playing with a pile of leaves in the backyard. Children who spend time in unstructured activities get time to use their imagination and creativity.
Boredom leads to daydreaming where the mind wanders and tries to look at things in a different way than you usually do. Studies reveal that boredom sparks creativity. So, let your children enjoy the occasional boredom and unstructured activities that they enjoy. The most interesting thing about creativity is that you cannot program your child to be creative. Creativity is an outcome of intrinsic motivation. It only arises when you find real joy in doing something. Let your child discover his interests, not yours. Help them explore what they love to do and encourage them in their passion to do so.