By Jonathan Darker
Just about every modern parent would like to think that they are encouraging creativity in their children. They will tell you that they buy creativity stimulating toys, spend huge amounts of money on creativity classes in the form of drama classes, art classes or whatever other classes there may be. That in itself is laudable, but does it end there?
The answer, in my opinion, is simply no. There are many ways to stimulate creativity, which is extremely important these days and will be even more important when your child becomes an adult, simply because creativity is the number one catalyst for innovation. But let’s start with the basics.
When you teach your children to do a task, chore or activity, do you simply show them the method and say, “That’s how it’s done!”? Or “This IS the best way!” Or my personal favourite, “This is how we have always done it!” If any of these ring a bell, then listen up. Simply changing the wording could make a huge difference to how your child thinks and will allow them to be more free thinking and creative.
Try something like, “This is one way of doing it, but I wonder if there are better ways?” By encouraging dialogue and facilitating freedom of thought, you leave the door open for possible improvements to the method, allowing a young creative mind to think about the process rather than simply accepting your method as “the only one”. Be mindful not to word it like this: “This is one way of doing it. There has to be another way.”
This choice of words makes the current method of performing the task invalid, which is not ideal either as sometimes the old methods are the best and there is no need to improve on them. You want your child to have the freedom to decide if it is necessary to improve the method or simply identify that the current method is sufficient and requires no further changes.
I believe that this, in addition to having the patience to listen to proposals from your child, will encourage creativity in children.
Give it a go!