7 Ways to Encourage Your Kid's Creativity

Children are natural creators, and their ability to innovate can take parents by surprise. Their creativity can help them cope with challenges and overcome through unusual life situations.
Creativity is also a powerful tool a kid can use to develop social skills, learn better, and even get self-confidence and self-esteem later in life. Here are seven methods to support your child’s creativity and encourage self-development.

Build a Creative Corner

A creative atmosphere is vital to supporting your kid’s imagination and artistic skills. By building a creative corner, you provide your child with a source of inspiration, besides creating a comfortable place for playing and feeling safe.
To unleash creativity, a child needs to have a place where every activity is allowed, from painting to playing with toys. That’s why you need to create an angle in your home where your kid can break the rules and make dirt or spots, without having to deal with consequences.
You don’t need a lot of space -- a few meter square in the kid’s bedroom or in the living room should be enough to inspire creative activities. Use a plastic tablecloth to protect your floor and furnish the angle with coloured boxes to store the supplies. Make sure your kid has paper, glitter, paints, pastels, crayons, markers, tape, playdough, glue, and other materials to use for crafting art pieces.
Encourage your child to innovate and create unique artwork with unconventional materials, such as themed party supplies, old Christmas tree decorations, or magazines. The more creative you are in providing opportunities, the higher the chances to spark your kid’s imagination.

Cultivate a Passion for Reading

Reading boosts your kid’s imagination and helps your child develop critical thinking skills.  A child who reads discovers new worlds, learns about different life situations from various cultures, and gets in contact with multiple ways to express concepts.
When you encourage your kid to read, you create opportunities for nurturing creativity and becoming a better communicator. You give your child a knowledge base containing stories, inspiration, and examples that can liberate creativity and improve cognitive abilities.

Let Your Kids Play

Playing is crucial to the kid’s cognitive and emotional development, so make sure you don’t overcrowd your child’s schedule with too many activities. Besides school, piano lessons, and sport, your little one needs time to play on his own and with his family and friends. Unscheduled time in your kid’s day it’s not a waste, but an opportunity to develop new abilities.
Studies confirm that play is essential for healthy development. Besides their direct role in the child’s physical development, the games help your kid to develop skills that are necessary for the adult life, such as building relationships, solving problems, public speaking, or negotiation, to mention a few. A child who has the time to play is more likely to develop creative skills, as well.

Focus on Strengths  

It can be difficult to see the cat in your kid’s painting, but try to appreciate the effort rather than criticize the lack of precision. Congratulate the child for the colours used, instead. If you focus on strengths,  your child is more likely to progress and achieve the healthy emotional development you expect.
Your encouragement and appreciation work as a form of positive reinforcement that motivates the kid to keep working, which leads to an improvement, in the long run. On the other hand, focusing on your weaknesses only causes discouragement and generates a lack of desire to create new things and learn from experience.

Teach Your Child Critical Thinking

Besides playing and reading, a child can learn to think critically by answering the right questions. So, focus less on giving answers and encourage your kid to find the solution
What do you think has happened?
What ideas do you have?
Why do you think that?
How would you solve this problem?
This type of questions encourages your child to analyze situations and possibilities, to and express thoughts. It’s a good exercise that helps children to accept diversity as part of their everyday life and use it as a source of inspiration for their creative activities.
Respect your child answers, whether you agree or not. Try to understand the kid’s approach before countering it, and guide your child do things differently.

Find Time for Outdoor Activities

Nature is a never-ending source of inspiration for both children and adults. There’s no doubt; by encouraging your child to explore nature, you can stimulate your kid’s imagination. Better yet, outdoor play helps children improve crucial soft skills, like planning, self-control, and decision making, besides building an excellent fitness level and healthy bones.
When playing outside kids deal with little confinement and few restrictions (compared to indoor play). They learn to calculate risks and prioritize activities, which can influence creativity for good.

Allow Your Kid to Fail

Failure is part of life and helps your child grow. Everybody has to go through a long process of trial and error before reaching success. The sooner your kid learns this lesson, the better.
When they fail, kids don’t learn only about how they can make things differently, but also about themselves and how they can deal with challenges. Instead of doing things for your kids, encourage them to try again. Ask them to analyze the steps they’d taken and help them identify any errors.
Support them and guide them to look for alternative solutions to solve their problems. Creativity is the result of practice and repeated tasks. There’s no shortcut to making your child creative. You must encourage your kid to work hard and learn from failure if you want to unleash creativity and cultivate creative skills.

*This is a collaborative post written for Bump to Baby & Beyond.
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