By Maggie Stevens
It is important that your children have the time to be creative. Creativity tends to flourish on days when children are not under pressure.
Helping your child discover their creativity should be fun. Being motivated and interested in learning are key elements for children. Creativity begins naturally in a child; all you need to do is teach them how to be mindful of it.
Begin by appealing to your child’s senses:
“Look over here!”
“Listen to that!”
Activities involving the senses are excellent-yet-simple methods of mindfulness to teach children about themselves and their world. When you introduce your children to nature, new cultures, animals, museums, sporting events, or science, you’re providing endless possibilities for them to wrap their young brains around.
It is important that your children have the time to be creative. Creativity tends to flourish on days when children are not under pressure. Children need the time to explore ideas rather than constantly being saddled with too many after-schoolactivities and the stress of growing up. Although it may drive a parent crazy, moments of doing seemingly nothing are essential for creativity, productivity, and peace of mind. Today my grandchildren found a lizard and rescued it from the cat. This moment of joy was brief but their excitement from this simple incident lasted for days. Give your child the freedom and the space to daydream and explore.
Once you have found something that interests your child, assisting them to be creative is nothing more than becoming their cheerleader. One of the advantages we have as adults is that we see the relevance of what we are learning. The desire to learn or create will be stronger in children if you can put into perspective what they are creating. Make sure you support them, direct them and cheer them along their chosen path whether it be creating a village of legos or building a mote around their sand castle. Listen to their ideas and let them lead the way.
Jo Ann Larsen, DSW, describes it this way, “In life, we are, in a sense, gardeners of our own selves. Needing to transfer those selves from smaller to larger pots to get new growth and better blooms, and needing to strive toward maturity as the crises of our lives open up new opportunities for change.”
Respect the “process” of creating more than the finished product. Products are usually an adult value. When children know they can discover on their own they stop worrying about how things look or if they are making a mistake. For example, they may experiment finger painting using all the colors in every paint jar on the table. The final product…a brown painting may not be much to look at, but the process of exploring all possible colors was thrilling.
Have fun helping your child discover new talents. If you let it, this can be one of the most exciting aspects of parenthood. Provide tape, glue, stickers, yarn, rocks or sand. Watch your child assemble and design their own projects. There is no right or wrong way to be creative. Put on lively music, dance, explore the woods, try new food…there is no limit to the twists and turns of unique activities you can discover together. Enjoy every facet of getting to know more about this complex individual.
We are all meant to shine. Have you ever watched a toddler twirl? Giggling until they get so dizzy they fall down? Spinning out of control brings utter joy to a tiny spirit. This joy manifests a glory that an uninhibited child is not afraid to shine. We are all meant to shine but as adults we sometimes let our fears take over, making us feel we are inadequate. It is our light, not our darkness that we need to be mindful of. Be an example of this creative light to your child and you will raise a child who feels free to explore and excel.
Relax, be yourself, and have fun with your children. Make creativity a part of every day in your home. Fun is a necessity when raising children to mindfully foster creativity. You don’t stop laughing when you grow old—you grow old when you stop laughing.
MAGGIE STEVENS, author of ParentFix, graduated from Brigham Young University with degrees in Sociology and Recreation Management/Youth Leadership. Professionally, Maggie works with youth groups, parent groups, and educators offering parenting help in today’s world. The health of any society lies in the strength of its families. Strengthening families will strengthen communities and nations.
Maggie volunteers the majority of her time to The ParentFix Foundation. A non-profit organization dedicated to improving family life. Currently, Maggie is partnered with Barnes & Noble Book Stores presenting parenting workshops across the country. In addition, Maggie regularly visits The King’s English Book Shop, Frost Book Stores & Sam Wellers Books. Watch for Maggie at a bookstore near you. Maggie will be presenting parenting segments on KSL Studio Five. She also works with CBS, NBC and ABC affiliates.nationwide. In San Diego, Maggie works with the San Diego Unified School District and XETV Bay City Television. Maggie is the proud mother of five children and twelve grandchildren.