Kids are natural innovators with powerful imaginations. And creativity offers a bounty of intellectual, emotional and even health benefits.
One study found that kids’ imaginations helped them cope better with pain. Creativity also helps kids be more confident, develop social skills, and learn better. Below, three experts share how parents can encourage their kids’ creativity.
- Designate a space for creating.Carving out a space where your child can be creative is important, said Pam Allyn, executive director of Lit Worldand Lit Life and the author of many books, including Your Child’s Writing Life: How to Inspire Confidence, Creativity, and Skill at Every Age.
But this doesn’t mean having a fancy playroom. It could be a tiny corner with a sack of LEGOs or a box of your old clothes for playing dress-up.
2. Keep it simple. Just like you don’t need to create an elaborate play area, you don’t need the latest and greatest toys either. Child educational psychologist Charlotte Reznick, Ph.D, suggested keeping simple games and activities.
- Allow for “free time.” It’s also important to give your child unstructured time, Allyn said. Spend a few hours at home without activities scheduled, so your child can just putter around and play, she said.
- Discuss creativity. Ask your kids when they come up with their best ideas or have their most creative moments, Allyn said. If it’s in the car while getting to soccer practice, honor that by keeping a notebook, iPad or even a tape recorder handy, she said.
6. Avoid managing. “Children have an amazing innate ability to be creative when they play freely on their own, and unfortunately, the act of overparenting dampens or even wipes out that innate ability,” according to Mike Lanza of Playborhood.com and author of the upcoming book Playborhood: Turn Your Neighborhood into a Place for Play. So it’s important to figure out how to facilitate your child’s creativity without managing it, he said.
Curled from Psychecentral.com