How to Develop Your Child's Creativity

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The growth of a child’s creativity depends a lot on the parenting style.  Creativity is making something new out of something old, or something new from seemingly unrelated things.  A parent may see old socks; a child sees a train from old socks lined up.    Children tend to see relationships in unrelated things.  This, too, is an element of creativity.

Dr. Carl Rogers, a professor of psychology says, “The emergence of a novel product, growing out of the uniqueness of the individual on the one hand, and the materials, events, people, or circumstances of his life on the other, defines the creative process.”

Providing a stimulating and accepting environment enhances creativity.  The creative imagination should be energized and guided from birth.

Here are some suggestions to help meet this goal:

  • Explore common natural and environmental materials.  Plant seeds in egg cartons.  Provide squirt bottles for water play.  You may tint the water with food coloring for painting on your driveway or sidewalk.  (It’ll wear off or be washed off, don’t worry).  Enjoy playing on the sand.
  • Encourage your child to be more observant.  Go on a nature walk together.  Ask questions such as:  “How are these two rocks (leaves, trees, etc.) alike?”  “How are they different?”  Accept your child’s answers.  He or she may not always see things exactly as you do.  Group the found objects by shape or size, and let your child describe how they feel.
  • View your child’s errors as a desirable and necessary part of learning.  Parents often react negatively to spilled milk or a broken toy.  If children are criticized each time they do something wrong or different, it’s unlikely that creativity will prosper.
  • Encourage your child’s independence.  Give him or her real choices.  Occasionally give a chance for them to choose the clothes they want to wear when you eat out or go strolling at a mall.  Involve your child in rule-making and choosing appropriate correctives when those rules are broken.  Self-confidence grows with independence and a self-confident child will be a more creative one.

“Creative people are tough-skinned.  They have to be strong-willed, confident, obstinate, and not easily put down,” says Howard Gardner, Ph.D., the psychologist who introduced to the world the theory of Multiple Intelligence.

  • Encourage social relationships.  Two children look at the same thing and see something completely different.  Children have different ideas for play and different views on life.  Through early social relationships, children learn to express themselves in different ways, and they learn the give-and-take of inventive play.  Social relationships also help develop self-confidence.
  • Value fantasy.  Act out stories with your child.  Dance together.  Let yourself be seen in nonconforming roles at times.  How long has it been since you made mud pies?  Dr. Gardner believes if you deprive children of the early imaginative phase, you could prevent them from ever doing anything creative later on.
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