As parents, we often question the decisions we make while raising our children. Yeesh! I was an elementary school teacher for 10 years. You’d think I’d have more confidence in my “Kid Skills” by now!
Somehow when it’s your own child, you question (or over analyze) your every.single.move. Here are 3 easy steps we bear in mind as we ask the question, “How do I nurture my child’s creative nature?”
1. Defer and honor. Bounce it back.
When your child asks for your opinion on how to create something, “bounce it back” to her rather than offering your thoughts/opinions. This honors your child’s creative spirit and motivates her to think critically. Simply because we’re adults does not mean we have all the answers. It’s natural for kids to think “outside the box”. We can learn from them – if we simply take time to listen.
2. Give authentic, positive praise.
Saying things like, “Wow – that is so creative! Especially the way you [highlight a particular feature of your child’s creation],” is so nurturing for your Little Creator. It affirms his abilities while reinforcing his feelings of self-worth. Sometimes, simply saying “I love seeing what you create,” or “I just love to watch you play,” is all you need to say. 🙂
3. Challenge your child’s intellect.
When she asks something, rather than simply giving your child an answer, ask her to find one on her own. Doing so challenges the good ole’ fashioned intellect and inspires creative thinking.
Seems simple enough, right?
Now I’ve Talked the Talk, and it’s time I Walk the Walk. Here’s a short video showing our kids playing with stuff we found sitting around our Home that we built into cool new games/toys. During the whole process, I focused on encouraging them to be the creators of the game.
My Journey to becoming a Nurturer of Our Kids’ Creativity…
Years ago, I had a tremendously influential teaching partner with whom I taught Kindergarten. Noelle happens to be an artist (which I’m not!), is a super chilled out parent, and is a positive, ebullient sweetheart of a human being. Not only is she a dear friend to many, but she is also a fabulous parent, teacher and model for how to nurture children’s creative nature.
What I learned when observing Noelle is this: Giving children tons of choices while effusing them with positive praise leads them to become creative, critical thinkers, strong problem solvers and culturally-rich individuals.
Oh, so that’s all?!
One afternoon I went to Noelle’s house and listened as she and her (then) tween daughter had a dialogue.
“Mom, how do you think I should finish this part of this drawing for Dad’s birthday?”
“I dunno. What do you think, Chloe? You’re so creative and have a superior eye for art. What does your eye tell you? What do you see there? I always love what you draw!”
“Oooh! I know! I’m going to use oil pastels and put…” (she then proceeded to skip off and complete a gorgeous abstract, amazing piece of artwork over the course of an hour or two).
Nicely done, Noelle! And special thanks for being an excellent role model who’s helped me become the empowered, nurturing parent I am today!
Song du Jour: ABC Song from Positively Kids (We absolutely LOVE these guys!)
Disclosure: The information and material contained in this post are presented for educational purposes and are informational in nature only. Statements and opinions expressed in this post are those of Amy Askin only and should not be considered facts. While the information and materials presented are believed to be accurate, they are not intended to replace or substitute professional medical advice or care, and should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health care problem or disease or for prescribing any medication. If you have questions or concerns regarding your baby’s or your physical or mental health, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.