A creative mind can invent, imagine, create, enjoy, solve problems effectively, and communicate in fresh and new ways, successfully dealing with personal, social, academic, and professional challenges.
Unfortunately, our society does not approve or encourage creativity.
Still, the components of creativity live in everyone. If we can be creative, we can explore many alternatives without being constrained.
We would not be bored of doing the same things repeatedly. Creativity makes one flexible in terms of thinking, behaving.
Creativity is not so much about people becoming expert “artistes,” as much as it is about expressing what is inside -- thoughts and feelings.
There is a belief that people are born to be creative and only special, talented people are creative. The notion that geniuses such as Shakespeare, Picasso, and Mozart were “gifted” is a myth, according to a study at Exeter University. Research shows that creativity can be learned.
Learning creativity is similar to learning any other skill. It requires one to have interest, proper knowledge, information, and a supportive environment in which to prosper.
A study by George Land reveals that we are naturally creative and, as we grow up, we learn to be uncreative.
Helping children explore
Parents must give space for their children to explore.
At the very beginning of life, children want to explore through the mouth. At different stages of life, children want to explore according to their interests.
Here, the parental role is to help them explore whilst ensuring their safety. For example, by the age of one-and-a-half, a child might want to fill up their mugs with water by themselves.
In that case, the care-giver’s role is to help them do this, not do it for them.
At the same time, they should appreciate their efforts, and it is important not to blame or discourage them if they make mistakes.
Allowing to make choices
This encourages children to think independently, which makes them feel valued within the family, boosting their confidence. For example, parents can ask their children what they like to have for breakfast or where they want to go on weekends.
If children want to play in different ways than usual, if it is not harmful for them -- in fact, they should be encouraged to do this. Parents can ask in a positive way as to why they would choose to play in this way. Ask them what happens, and so on.
Helping children think
This means brainstorming on different forms of items with children. A bottle can be a tower, a car, or a person. Validating children’s ideas, praising them for such an impressive imagination help children to be creative.
Parents can ask children open-ended questions to widen their understanding, for instance, by asking “what if” questions. “What if people could fly?” “What if people lived in space?”
Creativity is not so much about people becoming expert artistes, as it is about expressing what is inside -- thoughts and feelings
Playing with children is very important. Parents can be more connected if they spend time with their children playing. They should be part of the game, so they can understand the child’s mind more effectively.
Moreover, it’s not necessary for parents to give their children expensive toys or create an elaborate play area -- as noted child educational psychologist Charlotte Reznick suggests keeping simple and activities simple.
Reading is a great source of imagination. When a child imagines, they can easily invent new things. To that end, parents can play story-telling games with children.
This way they can start a story and take turns building upon it. Follow the child’s direction in what the mood of the story should be. Also, parents can provide items within their children’s environment to stimulate their imagination.
For example, drawing supplies, building blocks, books, and random craft supplies can all contribute to their imagination.
Activating the senses
To be creative, it is important to activate all five senses. For this, in the child’s environment colourful things can be added. Parents can visit natural places and encourage their children to walk in green fields, beaches, and other such places.
In any activity, whatever the outcome is, it is helpful to praise children’s attempts. Parents need to think and pick a point that they can praise.
In case of a child’s failure in a task, parents can say, “I am glad that you tried” or “I am not worried about the score. I know that you studied long and hard for that test,” and so on.
Children are the future, if we start pushing our children to more creative directions now, the future doesn’t seem all that bleak anymore.
Tasnuva Huque is a Psychosocial Counselor and Lecturer, Counseling Unit, BRAC University.