Top 10 Ways of Encouraging Creativity
By Kelly Jo Murphy
There are many things that you can do as a parent to nurture your children's creativity. Each of the following tips are about nurturing your children's creativity, but they can just as easily be used to nurture yourself or the child in you wanting to come out and play.
Tip #1: Encourage freedom.
First and foremost is to give her the freedom to think, to feel, to be herself. This can only happen when your child feels secure in her environment, when she feels it is ok to be herself. Give her the time, space and materials to create to her heart's content. Children tend to be more creative when parents give them a great deal of freedom.
Tip #2: Be an example of a creative person in action.
You are your children's primary role model. Let them see what it looks like to be creative. Some creative attributes include being easygoing, non-authoritarian, open to new adventures and activities, willing to take risks and follow your own interests and passions.
Tip #3: Give respect.
Respecting that she has the right to be herself and believing in her uniqueness builds your child's confidence in herself. She then feels capable of taking risks and being original. Respect her imagination and fantasies. They are where creativity begins. Here are some examples of comments that nurture the creative environment:
"It's fun to try it different ways."
" Tell me about it."
" Let's try it anyway."
" Have you thought of any alternatives?"
" I see you are having lots of fun."
These comments focus on having faith in your child and that it is ok to do it her way.
Tip #4: Stay emotionally detached from the outcome.
Detach yourself from her outcome. Her creative endeavors are hers. Take pride in your own work, let her take pride in her own.
Tip #5: Base your actions on values, not rules.
Too many rules are stifling to creativity. But if you base your actions on what you value, be an example of those values and let your children decide their behavior according to those values, creativity will flourish.
Tip #6: Focus on achievement, not grades.
Encourage your children to do their best and accomplish wonderful things. Rote learning and high grades are not as important as imagination and integrity in developing creativity. Creativity is developed in their achieving what is important to them.
Tip #7: Appreciate creativity.
Encourage inquisitiveness and a sense of wonder. As Albert Einstein said, "I have no special gift, I am only passionately curious." Appreciating and acknowledging your children's creative attempts and endeavors fosters more of the same.
Tip #8: Have a vision.
Envision her as the wonderfully unique and original person she is. Take your cues from her interests and passions. See her as capable of doing great, creative things. Have confidence and trust that she is fine doing things her own way, doing things that might be different than the norm. That vote of confidence allows her the freedom to be more creative. When you expect your children to be creative, they will be. The self-fulfilling prophecy is a strong influence on your children's behavior, including creativity.
Tip #9: Maximize success.
Give your children every opportunity to develop new interests, see new things, experience something different, build new skills. And when they express their original ideas about those new experiences, go with it. Let it be ok, let it be great, let it be the norm to express themselves in whatever way feels good to them. Success breeds more success. Creativity breeds more creativity.
Tip #10: Have fun and a sense of humor.
Laugh, have fun, laugh, have fun, laugh a lot … Did I mention laugh? Humor is a key ingredient in creativity. Laugh at situations, events, yourself. Lighten up and get silly!
Creativity is within each of our grasps. It is within each of us waiting to be discovered. Let it out, and you and your children can nurture a lifetime of creativity. Enjoy!
Kelly Jo Murphy is a certified parent coach, artist, wife, mom and an all-around silly little girl. She helps parents add more fun, ease and fulfillment to their parenting and their own lives. To sign up for her free e-zine, send a blank e-mail to [email protected] or visit www.parentingforpotential.com.