How to Raise Creative Kids
When I think of the idea of creativity I have to admit that the first thing that comes to mind is a savant of painting, music or the written word. Growing up, it seemed that the kids that had exceptional visual or performing arts skills were considered “creative” while those that had keen problem solving and logic skills were called “clever”. In an age where incredible visual art can be created with technology that does not require the ability to draw a single line or stunning audio that can be crafted without knowledge of a single note, the line between creativity and cleverness is perceptibly blurred. If we accept the fact that creativity and cleverness are two sides of the same coin, how do we raise our children to embody this new concept of creativity?
First let’s address the question of why it’s important to assign great value to fostering creativity in our kids. In an age where a seemingly infinite amount of data is available to us in the palm of our hand, the ability to simply amass facts is less valuable. However, with that limitless supply of information at our fingertips the ability to manipulate that data to innovate and solve problems is the key to success in the future. Simply “knowing” is not enough anymore. Creativity has a broader definition. Creativity is about moving past traditional rules and relationships and creating new and meaningful ideas.
Teaching kids to think creatively is about training them to push past the mere acquisition of information. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Encourage them to appreciate and consider other people’s opinions. One of the best ways to understand and consider other people’s views is to put yourself in their shoes. Considering the world through someone else’s experience opens your mind to more and better solutions.
- Force them to resolve conflict. When we step in and fix the struggles that our kids are faced with, we are robbing them of a valuable opportunity to explore empathy and compromise. Conflict resolution is a life skill that requires critical thinking and creative problem solving.
- Challenge them to be chronically curious. Curiosity is what helps them to challenge the known and the traditional. Curiosity makes kids ask not just What? but Why?
- Let them fail. Failure forces us to look at ourselves and our choices through a critical eye and ask “How could I do that better?” This quest for finding more successful solutions is key to creativity.
- Teach them to take initiative. A great innovation is just an idea until we take action to bring it to lifea .
All kids are born with some level of creativity. It is up to us, as parents to nurture that creative spirit. Our words and our actions matter when it comes to cultivating innovative thinking in our kids. Research has shown that our ability to develop creative thinking skills declines rapidly as we get older. It’s up to us to model behavior that values a continuous desire to learn, uncompromising curiosity and fearless experimentation. It sounds daunting but it doesn’t have to be. Research actually found that a common element in creative kids was that their parents tried to fix things themselves. Seriously, fixing that leaky faucet on your own may be the key to influencing creative, critical thinking in your kids. So, go forth, grab that wrench and wriggle yourself under the sink. Your kids will eventually thank you for it.
We’d love to hear how you encourage creativity in your kids. Okay…we’d also like to hear your funny DIY stories.
All the best,
Here is a beautiful video about the powerful impact of creative problem solving!