When you hear the word creativity, what comes to mind? For many of you it may be your child making a drawing or acting out moments that ooze of imagination. The reality is that creativity goes far beyond the arts and can be integrated into just about everything!
Let’s start by defining creativity. According to Wikipedia.org., Creativity refers to the phenomenon whereby a person creates something new (a product, a solution, a work of art, a novel, a joke, etc.) that has some kind of value.
Creativity is becoming more and more important in today’s workforce. Employers are looking for problem solvers that can think outside the box and be creative enough to bring their own solutions to the table and then work with others to navigate through new and unchartered waters. By having the tools to travel through uncharted waters, it allows companies to have a competitive edge.
The thing is, when does one learn to be a creative person? Can one just decide upon entering the workforce that they need to start thinking more creatively?
Before we get into how to nurture your child’s creativity, let’s start by looking at how creativity is hindered in children. Often, we do not realize as parents or as teachers when we are hindering creativity. Brene Brown, one of my favorite researchers, authors and speakers often speaks about creativity. She reminds us that the birthplace of creativity is vulnerability. There is no creativity without making yourself vulnerable. There is also no innovation and creativity without failure. When one is creative, they are taking a chance, they are allowing themselves to be vulnerable and in her words, “Vulnerability is about showing up and being seen. It’s tough to do that when we’re terrified about what people might see or think.” It’s important for us to keep this in mind when we are encouraging our children to be creative. They often look to us for approval and we want to make sure we are helping them, and not hindering them.
Children are naturally born inquisitive and wanting to know more and explore their environment. Although there are always limitations, especially when we deal with safety issues, a big part of fostering creativity is just allowing your child to just be. If your child is drawing and it doesn’t look like it is recognizable, be sure to encourage and not point out that it doesn’t actually look like anything. When we don’t give children time to explore, experiment and play with activities, we are not allowing them time to let their creative self -take over. This happens in both homes and schools. We are often so focused on tasks that have to be done, and them being done a certain way, that we do not allow the inquisitive child to explore and experiment with new ways of doing things or to play while letting their imagination take over. These are all points to keep in mind to make sure you are not hindering the creativity of your child, or as a teacher, your students.
Thanks for tuning in or reading this week. Join me next week for part two of Fostering Creativity in Children where we will look at practical ways to encourage your child’s creativity.