How to Raise a Creative Child – 7 Simple Steps

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Every parent wants their child to be creative. After all, creativity leads to innovative thinking, and that’s something we can all benefit from in today’s ever-changing world.

In fact, according to a study by IBM, by 2020, creativity will be one of the top three most important skills for success in the workforce.

And while some children are born naturally creative, there are things that parents can do to encourage creativity in their kids.

From letting them play in a treehouse playground to giving them a voice, here are some tips on how to raise a creative child.

Why is creativity important?

Raising children to be creative has many benefits. For one, it allows them to think outside the box and come up with innovative solutions to problems.

It also helps them to be better communicators and to better express themselves. And it can boost their self-confidence and help them to be more resilient in the face of setbacks. In other words, creativity is a useful skill that will serve children well throughout their lives.

How to raise a creative child: 7 Steps

So how can you encourage creativity in your child? Follow these steps:

1. Encourage their interests.

If your child is interested in a particular activity, subject, or hobby, encourage them to pursue it. The more they engage with their interests, the more likely they are to be creative in that area. This goes for both academic and non-academic interests.

For example, if your child is interested in music, sign them up for piano lessons or let them join the school band. Or, if they’re interested in fashion, encourage them to design their clothes or help them put together an original outfit for a special occasion.

If they’re a little older, you could even buy them a beginner sewing machine if they’re a little older. The key is to find ways to help them explore their interests and express themselves through them.

DO NOT:

  • Over-structure their time. Don’t fill up every minute of their day with scheduled activities. Make sure they have some free time to explore and play independently.
  • Be too forceful. If you push them too hard, they may resent their interests altogether. So find a balance between encouraging and pushing them.

2. Provide opportunities for pretend play.

Few things are as important for a child’s development as pretend play. It helps them to develop their imaginations, to try on different roles, and to solve problems. The younger the child, the more important pretend play is.

So how can you encourage pretend play? One way is to provide them with props and toys that lend themselves to pretend play. For example, dolls, toy cars, dress-up clothes, and puppets are great for pretend play.

Building them swing sets or treehouses in the backyard is also a great way to spark their imagination. Better yet, assemble the Swing Set Parts!

Another way to encourage pretend play is to join in. Get down on the covered sandboxes yourself and play with them. Be silly and let your imagination run wild. 

DO NOT:

  • Limit their play. Don’t try to control their play or tell them how they should play. Let them be and see what they come up with on their own.
  • Be a know-it-all. If they’re pretending to be a doctor, don’t correct them every time they do something that’s not “realistic.” Let them use their imagination and figure things out for themselves.

3. Encourage them to take risks.

Encourage them to take risks
How to Raise a Creative Child - 7 Simple Steps 2

A creative person is someone who is not afraid to take risks. They’re willing to try new things and experiment, even if it means making mistakes.

So how can you encourage your child to take risks? One way is to provide them with opportunities to experiment.

For example, if they’re interested in painting, buy them a blank canvas and some paintbrushes. Encourage them to try different techniques and see what they come up with. 

Remember, being perfect is not the goal here. The goal is to try something new and take risks.

Another way to encourage risk-taking is to model it yourself. They’re likely to do the same if you’re always playing it safe. So take some risks and show them that failure is okay.

DO NOT:

  • Do everything for them. If they’re painting, don’t do it for them or tell them how to do it. Let them experiment and figure things out on their own.
  • Be a perfectionist. Again, the goal is not to be perfect. It’s to take risks and experiment. So don’t be too hard on them if they make a mistake so you can avoid perfectionism in children.

4. Help them to find their voice.

Raising a creative child means helping them to find their unique voice. This can be a challenge, especially if you have strong opinions.

A unique voice doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything they say or do. It just means letting them express themselves in their way. Here are some ways you can help them to find their voice:

Encourage them to ask questions.

A creative person is always curious and full of questions. So don’t discourage your child from asking questions. Instead, encourage it.

Help them to explore their interests.

As we mentioned before, being creative is being interested in trying new things. So help them to explore their interests, even if they’re different from yours.

Respect their wishes.

Don’t force them if they tell you they don’t want to do something. Respecting their wishes and letting them make their own decisions is important.

5. Allow them to be bored.

It might sound counterintuitive, but allowing your child to be bored is a great way to encourage creativity.

When children are bored, they have to find ways to entertain themselves. And that’s when they often come up with their best ideas.

So instead of entertaining them every minute of the day or making sure they have gadgets on-hand to keep them occupied, let them be bored sometimes. It might be hard at first, but it’ll be worth it when they come up with their next big idea.

6. Don’t hover.

One of the worst things you can do for a child’s creativity is to hover over them constantly. Of course, it’s natural to want to protect them, but give them some space. Micromanaging their every move will only stifle their creativity.

So instead of hovering, give them some independence. Let them walk to the store by themselves or ride their bike around the block. The next time they want to try something new, don’t say no right away. Instead, ask them how you can help or keep things safe.

By giving them some space and independence, you’re showing them that you trust them to make their own decisions. And that’s a critical part of being creative.

7. Encourage them to daydream.

Daydreaming is often seen as a waste of time, but it’s a critical part of being creative for a child.  When children daydream, they’re letting their imaginations run wild. They can develop solutions to problems or new ways of looking at things.

So instead of discouraging your child from daydreaming, encourage it. Let them spend time each day just thinking and exploring their thoughts and ideas. You might be surprised by the results.

Final Thoughts

Creativity is a process, and it doesn’t always happen overnight. So don’t get dismayed if your child isn’t as creative as you’d like them to be. 

Just keep encouraging them and exposing them to new things; eventually, their creativity will blossom. All you need to do is plant the seed.

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