A Parent’s Guide to Encouraging Your Child’s Creativity
It’s natural for children to be creative, but they need a supportive environment to keep that spark alight. As a parent, you can help your child to appreciate art and express themselves.
Each of us can be creative, and it’s a skill that can be developed. Innovation and originality extend beyond galleries and museums. These are qualities that can be applied throughout our personal and professional lives.
Share the joy of creativity with your family. Learn more about how to help your child use their imagination.
Benefits of Encouraging Your Child’s Creativity:
- Build confidence. Fear of failure inhibits the artistic process. Create opportunities for your child to take risks and learn from experience. Show them that it’s okay to be different. Help them to identify and use their personal strengths.
- Manage stress. Crafts and hobbies are a healthy way for children to process difficult emotions. They’ll be less likely to turn to riskier options like overeating or drugs.
- Develop cognitive skills. Creativity involves thinking as well as making things. While they’re finger painting or writing songs, they’re also solving problems and innovating.
- Enjoy life. Creative children are likely to experience more happiness and success. They’ll know how to entertain themselves, relate to others, and contribute in the workplace.
Tips for Encouraging Your Child’s Creativity:
- Offer praise. Children want to use their imagination but might hold back if they feel like they’re being judged. Stay positive and recognize their efforts, even if they color outside the lines.
- Enable unstructured play. Is your child overscheduled? Leave some free time in between dance classes and organized sports, so they can explore on their own. Buy open-ended toys like blocks or let them fool around with empty boxes and string.
- Actively engage. Limit TV and computer time. Spend your days doing things together instead of just sitting and watching. Go outdoors for a hike. Play board games and talk about your day.
- Dare to be messy. Children love sticky stuff, so relax the rules during craft time. If you’re concerned about cleaning bills, designate a special area in the basement or backyard where spills and smudges are allowed.
- Provide prompts. Even great artists sometimes need help getting started. Complete the first few steps of a drawing, and then ask your child to help you. Ask them questions about what they want to make and why.
- Seek inspiration. Stay on the lookout for stimulating ideas. Visit art museums and watch nature documentaries. Carry a journal around, so you and your kids can jot your thoughts down for later use.
- Stock up on supplies. Be prepared for when your kids have sudden artistic urges or complain about being bored. Keep a variety of materials on hand, like crayons and clay.
- Pursue passions. Choose activities based on your child’s personal interests. A soccer fan might want to assemble a collage with images from sports magazines and their own ticket stubs. A music lover might try building their own instruments using household objects.
- Make it social. Invite other family members and friends to join you for playdates and outings with a creative theme. Help your child upload images of their favorite works to share with their grandparents or classmates.
- Teach by example. Your children will be more likely to develop their creativity if they see you doing it too. Work on your individual projects side by side and discuss your experiences.
Nurture your child’s creativity and imagination. You’ll wind up with something more than cute drawings for your refrigerator door. You’ll be helping them to think independently and develop their emotional intelligence.