Creativity is a type of rational thinking called divergent thinking. Creative thinkers branch off from our ordinary linear thinking and offer multiple solutions or answers to a problem.
Inventors and scientists, along with artists and musicians are creative thinkers.
So what if you have a creative thinking child? What if your son is constantly coming in and trying to engage you in a discussion of an invention he wants to make? How do you respond to your daughter when she shows you her drawing of fashions she’d like to see for her classmates? It can be exhausting to listen to their detailed plans and hard to find enough wall space to post all their drawings.
Studies show children’s creativity tends to decrease with age. Our schools foster conventional thinking skills to find ‘correct’ solutions. Linear thinking is rewarded all through school even to university education. So if our kids are to develop their creativity, it will largely be outside the classroom.
But this is one trait you, as a parent, can really influence. You can help your child develop their creative thinking or you can stifle it and the world will lose out.
Parents can encourage creative thinking by valuing creativity at home. Watch TV shows that explore new ideas. Look for new ways to do ordinary tasks or rearrange your furniture from time-to-time. Seek new ideas for dinner or vacation destinations. Children pick up the family’s values.
Encourage self-expression. Plan for unstructured playtime and let your child explore both indoors and outdoors. Provide materials for them to experiment on their own. Limit screen time to allow for free thinking outside the box.
Spend time with your child reading together about whatever they are interested in. Take them to see how others do whatever it is they are thinking about. Ask open-ended and thought-provoking questions. Discuss ideas for solving problems they encounter and help them innovate and explore in new areas.
Fight your own tendency to do things by the book and for a ‘correct’ outcome. Let your child know it is OK to make mistakes. Teach them that even the greatest inventors tried and failed many times before they found what works.
Who know, you may just raise a child who will change the world!
Read more about Cultivating Creativity