Motivating and nurturing creativity in children at an early age will help them achieve their fullest artistic potentials. Read to see some helpful tips…
Many people believe that creativity is an inborn attribute, that children are born either possessing creative ability or not. Just as children are not equally intelligent, some believe that children are not equally creative too. But we all know that children at their early age are natural innovators with powerful imaginations. Try to give a little child a pen or a crayon and they would probably make some abstract paintings on every available blank space they can find, including the walls.
Some studies says that genes may have a role to play in developing creative abilities in individuals.They say that creative genes may run in the family, which is somehow true. We can see that in many cases where musician or song composer parents begot offsprings with the same abilities, artists parents bore artists children, writers produces children with an aptitude in writing. In other words, just as many studies tries to establish, creativity is determined in our DNA. This new wave of research suggests that genetics play a big role in shaping a person’s creative ability. Now if that is the case, you may ask, then what’s the use of motivating, encouraging and supporting your children’s creativity if they are not naturally from a creative family lineage? Though these researches suggests that a person’s creative ability is mostly influenced by the DNA, the fact that everyone is capable of learning to be creative to varying degrees cannot be denied. Even if an individual is from a family of creative geniuses, it is not an assurance that he will become a super-achiever. Even the scientists who suggest that creativity is genetic assures us that “natural born creative” people also need opportunities and practice to express themselves. Just like most of us they too, need to work hard, keep learning and enhance their abilities. This implies that creativity does not rest on genes alone. Nurturing every child’s ability to create also plays a big role to produce successful creative individual from them. All children have creative potentials. Just like plants, their abilities needs to be nurtured to be able to grow and become healthy. So how can you water the seeds of creativity in your children for it to flourish? Here are few ideas to help children develop their skills and creativity;
- Provide the resources they need to express their creativity. Designating a space at home where a child can be creative is as important as providing them the materials they need to do so; crayons, water colors, molding clays, papers, unpointed scissors, etc. Let them feel they have the power over their space so they would not be intimidated and can freely express themselves. Never mind of the mess, you can clean up later or you can train them to help in cleaning and in organizing their stuffs after each use.
- Let them enjoy what they’re doing. Artists experience happiness and satisfaction while being creative. They enjoy the process of making things. In the same way, let children enjoy the process of creating at their early age. Give them free space so they can freely express themselves. Allow them to take risks, ( you can watch them without intimidating them), make mistakes, and solve problems while expressing their creativity and let them freely enjoy it.
- Do not compare their creations to others. Comparison kills creativity in your children. Don’t let them be discouraged because you yourself says how well others were doing because this will make your children begin to doubt their own potential. Believe me,comparison discourages skill development and interest in the future. I’ve been there.
- Do not criticize their creative efforts. Do not instill your “standard” and high expectations to your children. Never criticize their artworks for this discourages their creative thought, snuff out their confidence, creativity and interest in learning. Accept them as beginners and encourage improvement in a manner that is not demeaning. Carefully choose the right words to say or else you could not encourage them but you do otherwise.
- Help your children pursue their passions. Observe them and pay attention to their interest. Is your child more interested in painting? Make painting materials and activities available to him or her. Is your child showing interest in sculpture? Provide molding clays for him as a start. Or loves writing? You may buy him or her a book. You can easily identify their artistic inclination by either directly asking or observing.
- Encourage your children to actively participate in arts. You can encourage them by sharing with your kids ample quality time doing arts or crafts with them. Showing them your enthusiasm in creativity is a good example for them to follow and will motivate them. As much as possible, limit them from watching TV or playing games with their gadgets. Those are distractions that may hinder their creativity growth and development.
- Emphasize process rather than products. Try to formulate questions that can let them see the importance of the process such as ” Did you have fun? Did you enjoy doing it? What did you like about the activity?” This helps in developing their patience, teaching them to enjoy every stages of their creations and let them know that it’s the process that matters more than the products.
- Don’t give incentives for their creativity. Allow children to develop mastery of creative activities for the reason that they love to do it and not to be motivated by the rewards. Instead of rewarding them, let them enjoy what they are doing because they are intrinsically motivated to do it. Giving rewards might interfere with the creative process and might affect the quality of their creative products. This is because the rewards might divert their motivation from finishing their artworks with quality into just having an artwork finished to avail of the rewards.
“Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from Him.” – Psalm 127:3
External responses are strong influence that shapes a person’s creative propensity whether he or she is from a family of creative geniuses or not. I myself was an example. Maybe genetics gave some contributions in my case. My mother and her brothers have the abilities to draw while my father, as far as I remember possessed the niche to write poems and essays. At an early age, I was already practicing these skills, making sketches and self-portrait in front of a mirror and writing comics-like stories. Until that day when I was chosen by our teacher to represent our class in a drawing contest which was dominated by male contestants. Hearing some words comparing my work with my male opponents and some negative comments from insensitive audience and teachers was like cold water that killed the fire of my enthusiasm in arts. Since then I doubted my ability and started believing that I was not good enough for the arts. Worst is, I even doubt my writing skills too. So I stopped. My abilities was not nurtured, I was not encouraged by anybody. Only later in life, maybe because naturally I have the love for arts and creativity, that I gave it a try again. I’m thinking most of the time that I may have already gotten that far if I didn’t stop. Based on my own experience, I believe that DNA alone cannot produce artists, writers, song composers, etc., it’s the nurturing that plays a big part in a person’s creative ability. Everyone’s life is a potential work of art, but sometimes we and our children become victims to believe otherwise. So, try your best, spend time and exert effort to nurture your children’s creativity and it’s best to start while they are still young.