Creativity is one of the most valuable skills a person can have. It refers to the ability or power to create and is characterized by originality, imagination, and expressiveness. Engaging in creative activities has numerous varied benefits most notably when it comes to mental health. Here are some things you can do to help your child be creative.
Benefits of Creativity
Improved mental health
- Artistic expressions such as drawing, writing, moulding and expressive writing have been proven to help people deal with trauma and manage negative emotions.
- Dancing has a positive impact on body image, improves psychological moods and lowers fatigue.
- Creative expression relieves stress and anxiety and lessens feelings of shame, anger and depression by people who have dealt with trauma
- When you’re so immersed in a creative task you lose all sense of time is referred to as being in flow. People who experience flow report higher levels of creativity, productivity and happiness.
Brain boosting benefits
- Writing is great for learning and boosts memory.
- Making music, such as playing an instrument, improves connectivity between the two hemispheres in the brain. Increased connectivity makes us more emotionally resilient.
- Acting and performing improve cognition.
- All forms of artistic pursuit also improved problem-solving abilities.
Physical health benefits
- One study found that expressive writing boosts the immune system as does music.
- Writing helps with chronic pain management.
- Dance can improve blood pressure and help with weight management
How to raise a creative child
Get out of the way
Creativity may be hard to nurture, but it’s easy to thwart. You can’t force your child to do something in the name of helping them be creative. Being a Tiger Mom or Lombardi Dad will not get you there. Give your children the freedom to pursue their passions, not yours. Stop with the rules and the pressure to colour within the lines of your prescribed moral values or other rules. Focus rather on helping them develop their own ethical code. Begin by getting out of their way.
Recognize your biases
Begin by recognizing any wounds and biases you carry. Wounds you carry like that time someone said you can’t sing or a teacher was negative about your writing. Biases like fixed ideas about creativity. Creativity is not just about the arts. It applies to everything that involves problem-solving. Creativity could be in how they line up their toys or pick up their outfits. Support it and broaden your perception of creativity. Children take their cues from adults and they believe them.
Support growth mindset
Focus on the effort and the details rather than the outcome. For example, rather than saying a drawing is beautiful, note their attention to the details around the eyes and acknowledge their focus and hard work. There will be some setbacks and failures along the way, so help your child not just bounce back but also grow. Help them think of the experience differently and learn from it.
Be mindful of rewards
We often assume rewards are the best motivator, but they are not. Rewards can have the negative effect of making children associate the activity with the reward instead of engaging in the activity for its intrinsic benefits like the joy it brings.
- Encourage curiosity and expose them to new experiences and places that foster creativity
- Encourage reading
- Expose them to literature. Music and the arts
- Have supplies and tools to be creative with easily available
- Give them a place to be creative like a nook that’s theirs
- Let them engage in free play with things like blocks and dolls that require imagination
- Limit distractions and disruptions that rob time from your child to think, reflect and use their imagination
- Allow them to be bored and don’t overschedule their time
- Don’t judge or criticize their creative work
- Consider co-creating with your child, modelling good behaviour is the best option
Cook and bake, paint, colour and use modelling clay, sing at the top of your voice, play an instrument, read independently and together, journal about your day out, dance aimlessly or follow a dance tutorial, play board games, take photographs and make short films with your child. The options are endless.
Parenting: Key Behaviour To Model For Children
Parenting: Teach Your Children To Be Creative Thinkers While You Still Can
Things Parents Wish They’d Said More To Their Children When They Were Younger
How Your Parents’ Relationship May Be Affecting Yours