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Encourage creativity in your children

what parents can do to support their children's learning
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Should you encourage creativity in your children?.A couple of years ago this clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG9CE55wbtY was released which shows Sir Ken Robinson, an English writer and international education in the arts advisor talking about the importance of fostering and developing children’s creativity. He quoted the case of Gillian Lynne whose love of dance had the unusually good fortune to be spotted by an open minded teacher who advised her parents to send her to dance school. She then went on to be a famous choreographer whose shows such as Cats have inspired and brought pleasure to millions.

Creativity and the curriculum

Our current education system is very focused on maths, English, sciences and languages. It is possible from a certain age to drop all overly creative subjects and focus completely on a more left brain curriculum. Creativity is an innate part of everyone, it shows itself in vastly different ways and gives a child more than just the ability to play pretend or be artistic. It can support them to think and reason for themselves, consider alternatives and move outside the box.  Having a well-tuned imagination will give your child an advantage when entering the adult world. When they can look at an issue from many points of view and imagine several solutions they will be an asset in any career they choose.encourage creativity in your children

However innate creativity is like any seed, it needs the right conditions to flourish and flower and there are certain things that you can do with your children that optimise the chances of this part of them developing fully.

Boredom may be a good thing

As counter intuitive as it sounds, allowing your child to be bored is an essential step in creating space for the imagination to roam. Time without the constant distraction of screens or activities is perfect for left-field ideas to present themselves, so when your child announces that they have nothing to do tell them confidently that you are sure that they will come up with something.

Creativity is not about being neat and getting things right. It involves mess, trial and error and learning to bear the experience of not knowing how things are going to turn out. Of course it will be easier to support all of these in your child if you are able to tolerate them in yourself!

No question is a silly question

A healthy message to give any child is that there is no such thing as a stupid question. It is common at a certain age for children to develop the idea that they should know everything and that asking questions involve loosing face. Before that happens, validate their questioning with feedback like’ that’s an interesting question,’ or ‘wow, you know I’ve never thought of that’, comments like these, give their imagination lots of affirmation and hopefully will encourage them to do the same for others.

Observe your child

Try taking a back seat when your child is playing, resist the idea that there is a right way to play and instead, watch their play style unfold in front of you. Children are fantastic at working things out through creative play, whether its burning questions or tricky dynamics with friends, so be suggestive rather than prescriptive in your feedback.encourage creativity in your children

Simultaneously, if you do have a very creative child, it is important to put things in place so that they are also supported to manage things well. Remind them of transitions as they are coming, to ensure that they are tuned in enough to the everyday as well as their imagination. Creating a clear timetable with lots of creative time scheduled in will support a naturally creative type to manage routine and timetables without constricting their artistic expression.

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About Jenny Smith

About Jenny Smith

Jenny Smith is a freelance writer and facilitator specialising in mental health, well-being and ecotherapy. She writes for National Mind and The Working Parent and facilitates training in the Work that Reconnects and Ecotherapy. She is inspired by nature, gardening, love and non-duality teachings

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