Your children can learn to be creative by experimenting, exploring, questioning assumptions, using imagination, and synthesizing information.
During these long hot summer days staying inside doing nothing is becoming a problem. You cannot go out because there is a curfew. So, to pass the time I started watching different kinds of competitive programs or sports shows on TV. During my watching, I noticed one word that the judges and commentators frequently used. Creativity. It is one of the difficult words to explain without going into detail. So, how do you explain it?
According to some researchers, creativity is the tendency to generate, recognize ideas, alternatives, and possibilities to use to solve problems, communicate with others, and entertain yourself and others. After reading the definition, it is natural for many people to feel that they have no or limited creative ability. I am sure that is not true. I agree an act of creativity can be grand and inspiring, like creating a beautiful painting or designing an innovative new product. Please understand that an idea does not need to be artistic or world-changing to count as creative. There are plenty of opportunities in our daily life that require acts of ingenuity and novel workarounds to move forward. Considering all these facts, almost everyone possesses some amount of creativity. If you thought creativity in your child includes painting a picture, putting on a puppet show, or making up a funny story, then you are right, but that is not all.
There are endless opportunities to ask intriguing questions and model creative thinking during routine and also while spending time with your child. You must be thinking you already do so much for your child. Like teaching them to ride a bike, follow directions, respect elders, and others, you don’t have time to teach something else, like creative thinking skills. Please keep in mind, promoting creativity in your children will make life much easier for them in the long run. The reason is that creatively thinking children can more easily solve a problem than children who follow a rigid protocol when searching for a solution to a problem. I am sure now you are interested and are thinking, is there another way of defining creativity. Sure, there is.
You can think of creativity as an act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality, characterized by the ability to understand the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns, to make connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena, and then to generate solutions to your problems. Creativity involves two processes, thinking and then producing. To be creative, you can tap into your pool of resources. Like knowledge, insight, information, inspiration, and all other fragments you have accumulated, and saved in your mind over the years, in the process of just being alive, attentive to the world. Then combine them to produce something extraordinary. I agree creativity requires passion and commitment. Now you are thinking, can I teach creativity to my children?
I am sure you have already started the process of teaching creativity to your children because creativity begins with a foundation of knowledge, learning a discipline, and mastering a way of thinking. Now your children can learn to be creative by experimenting, exploring, questioning assumptions, using imagination, and synthesizing information. Learning to be creative is very similar to learning a sport because it requires practice to develop the right muscles and a supportive environment in which to flourish. Raising a creative child may be easier than you think. Still, here are a few tips that might help you in the long run. I have noticed some parents handling their child’s requestfor help to solve problems. It could be something concrete like homework, a difficult assignment, or simple tips to strengthen their friendship. They don’t respond immediately but ask what s/he thinks, how they would approach the problem, and then appreciate all ideas, especially the unexpected ones, and outside the box.
I have also seen parents playing with their children. They are focused on following their children’s lead. It did not matter whether they were chasing dragons or flying to the moon on a cardboard box. They were resisting the urge to interject or guide the game. Instead became a pawn in their children’s creative world. I realized that such interaction sent a message that they were supportive of their children and are willing to prioritize their children’s creative space. There are plenty of parents regularly encouraging their children to help them in various home repairs and gardening projects. Including working in the garden, preparing planters for flowers, or getting the kitchen garden ready for planting.
When my children were small, we had a wonderful time rearranging our living room. We made plans on paper and implemented them. We had lots of fun placing imaginary paper furniture on the map of their rooms to see the outcome. I sat down and watched them play Nintendo games. I even helped them make strategies to beat the boss of the game. We had fun playing puzzles and Legos. We had fun making stories. I know most of you are thinking there is no time to do all those things with children while handling a busy work schedule. The thing is, if you make up your mind, then you will find the time to do everything. Especially now during the lockdown period.
Finally, spending time with your children is not a job. At the same time, it is also not a burden. Please take it as part of a daily dose of entertainment for both your child and you. Now is the perfect time to spend with your children. You can talk to them while you are doing various things at home, like cooking, cleaning, or maintaining your surroundings. One of the activities I did with my children was to create stories. My routine with my children was telling them bedtime stories when they were small. It usually started with their favorite stories, but then they would improvise. By the end, it turned out to be something else. Every night it would be a different story with the same starting point. I believe this activity sparked their imagination. So, parents, what do you think? Is it something doable? Give it a try.
Pokharel is an educationist and author of several children’s books