A big part of being a Dad is helping your child to find their voice through extracurricular pursuits. Some kids express themselves through sports. Others through drawing and painting. Some sing, some love to dance, some play musical instruments, some act and a few do all of the above. The beauty of being a parent is that you get to guide your child through the smorgasbord of activities offered by their school and / or community and help your child find the ones that they like best.
Creativity benefits kids of all ages in a number of ways. It helps kids with focus and self-discipline. It helps them to process their thoughts and emotions using imagination. It gives them confidence and self-belief and encourages creative problem-solving skills. But while we all want our children to take an interest in creative pursuits, we’re also conscious about being one of those pushy parents that forces their kids into activities we think will be good for them or that we loved as kids.
With that in mind, here are some ways to encourage creativity in your kids the right way…
Try not to manage their creativity
Most children need a helping hand with discipline and time management. But there’s a fine line between helping a child manage their schedule and being a pushy parent. Be open an honest with your kids. Make sure that they enjoy their creative pursuits and find them rewarding while also acknowledging that it’s not always easy and that they need to stay on the horse even when creative endeavors are more demanding than fun.
Don’t take it too seriously
Of course, while nothing worth doing is fun all the time, that doesn’t mean that you can’t make it fun at first to keep them feeling rewarded and engaged. Don’t take it too seriously and it will always feel more like play and less like work. For example, try having a rap battle to some free beats from freebeats.io to encourage your musically gifted child. Encourage your artistically inclined kid to draw funny caricatures of friends, family members or teachers. Perform a skit with your little budding thespian to make Mommy laugh. There are lots of ways you can bring fun and levity to creativity.
Give them their own space
Having their own space in which to practice and learn through creative play can be very empowering to a young mind. By having mastery of their space, they can feel empowered and safe to express themselves. They don’t need a whole extra room for this. Even a corner of their bedroom or the living room equipped with an easel or whiteboard or even a big crate of Lego bricks can be a great creative space.
Remember, we need to consume art before we can create it
Finally, art can’t exist in a vacuum. Kids need to be exposed to the work of others to inform and influence what they create themselves. Try and give your kid a balanced cultural diet. Take them to galleries but let them watch cartoons. Encourage them to see the value in both classical music and hip hop. Encourage them to read everything.
The broader their tastes, the more they have to draw from when finding their own voices.