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The secret to raising creative kids is easier than you think

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Creativity, in contrast to what we think, can be cultivated. Here is a guide to raising creative kids.

After this article is out, it won't be a secret anymore! You will appreciate that raising creative children is not that difficult as it seems.

Creativity can be cultivated

Most of us are raised to believe that creative people are born, not made, that creativity is not a skill that could be developed. And it is reinforced by the way we are assessed for the creativity- by competing with others. The problem with this approach is, however, that creativity is often measured in the context of art. A person who can sing, dance, paint, write is thought to be creative. A person who cannot do that is thought to lack it.

In reality, creativity is not just bound to art. And not all art forms reflect creativity. So, a child might play a symphony like a professional, but he might be just repeating what he has been taught. On the other hand, a child who comes up with a unique solution for a problem at hand is quite creative.

This should change your perspective towards creativity. Because it is related to thinking and not performing, you can, in fact, help your child be creative!

What is the secret then?

The secret to raising a creative child involves three broad events. To begin with, it is important that he sees a gap, something that could be addressed. Next, he needs to be aware of the resources he could possibly access. And lastly, he needs to find a way to use those resources to address the gap in the best possible way.

The good news is, you can play a role in these events. The rule - give him his space.

Here are the 5 steps that you should take so that he ends up developing his creativity.

1# Ensure that your child is exposed to information from various sources

While STEM subjects matter a lot, expose him to subjects like geography, ecology, marine ecosystem, astronomy, art and cultures, languages. This does not mean trying to push him to a lot of enrichment centres. Take time out of your busy schedule and read to him a book about each subject. Take him to the observatory. Let him stargaze. This way, he gets to know the extent of his surroundings.

2# Teach him some basic DIY stuff

The sad thing about today's world is that you get everything quite easily. Involve your kids in basic do-it-yourself stuff at home and see the difference in their attitude. Equip them with basic tools, teach them how to use a screwdriver. Invest in magnetic building blocks, but encourage them to go off script!

I encourage my niece to build castles out of Zenga blocks. She has built one with a dolphin pool! Cool, isn't it?

3# Inform them about problems in the world.

Before they go to bed, tell them about how the aquatic mammals are being affected because of the plastic humans throw in the garbage, or the troubles some elderly people face when they have to climb stairs. Don't discuss anything yet. Just let them sleep over the problem and come up with a solution.

4# Ensure that the child has time to get bored.

This is the most important step towards creativity. Keeping your child engaged is a good thing. However, giving him some time off without a gadget/book would give him time to think and observe. So if he travels by bus every day, encourage him not to play a game on his phone.

Instead, ask him to think about the issue you discussed with him the day before. When you do this, he will not only think about the aquatic mammals but also start noticing how the plastic is disposed all around him. This will make him think laterally and this is a habit you want him to cultivate.

Encourage him to keep a journal and write down all the ideas he has about anything on this planet. Respect the journal and don't ever dismiss any idea as being stupid.

5# Encourage an ideation session with them.

At the end of a week, have an ideation session. Ask him to bring his friends along and discuss ideas he has jotted down throughout the week. Discuss what would be needed to implement the ideas. Encourage the kids to think by asking them 'How would you do that?" at every step.

What to expect

If you follow this, your children would develop a skill commonly known as critical thinking. It is the cornerstone to form a sound judgement. However, it also is very important when it comes to creativity. In addition, you are teaching him how to express himself by engaging him in discussions. He learns to come up with an idea, work on that idea and think about all the aspects around it, and then defend it if challenged.

Mums, being creative is not just an ability to sing or paint. If he practices that, he would excel. Being creative is being able to express himself in some form. And to express, his ability to think and form a judgement is very important. So follow this 5 steps and see the change in your child.

Republished with permission from: theAsianParent Singapore

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Ages + Stages Kid School-age Child Development