Dear RezilientKidz Team,

How can I encourage my child’s creativity?


Lots of people think creativity is associated only with pursuits like painting or music. While it is certainly valued in the arts, creativity is important in many areas of life. But sadly, when children and teens are surveyed, Asset #17: Creative Activities continually scores as the Asset that is least likely to be a part of their life experience. Creativity involves elements such as imagination, original thinking, and problem solving. It equips people to take a fresh, innovative approach to problems and is essential to success in many arenas including art, science, and business. Creativity also allows people to express themselves in constructive and beautiful ways, whether that’s playing an instrument, cooking a meal, or building a piece of furniture.

Every child is born with creative potential and, as parents, we have the privilege of helping our kids develop and realize that potential. There are so many things you can do to foster your child’s innate creativity that it’s impossible to list them all, but here are a few ideas to start:

Let them play. Let your child enjoy a good amount of unregimented play time. While some structured activity, such as team sports, is healthy, especially as kids get older, it’s important that a child’s schedule not be so packed that he doesn’t have time to exercise his imagination or experience wonder at the world around him.

Nurture curiosity. Anyone who’s been around toddlers knows their favorite question: “Why?” Unfortunately, inquisitiveness can be quashed as children get older. Encourage your child’s natural sense of curiosity. Make open-ended questions a regular part of your conversations—anything from practical questions like “How could we clean up all these toys faster?” to abstract ones like “What do you think that cloud looks like?” RezilientKidz has a family conversation and activity wheel with lots of fun and thought-provoking questions and activities that could be a fun way to enhance your family’s time together. It’s also a great way to get your child’s creative wheels turning.

Don’t be afraid of boredom. Children don’t have to be constantly entertained, nor should they be allowed to resort to the TV or computer whenever they’re bored. Provide your child some tools for creative expression, and you might be surprised how quickly his imagination can kick in.

Don’t micromanage creativity. Try to refrain from corrections like “Be sure to only color inside the lines.” Some creative people color inside the lines, some don’t. Let creative expression be about creating, not about yielding a perfect product.

Allow for messes. Developing creative problem-solving skills can sometimes be messy. Asking an older child, a question like “How could we drop this egg without it breaking?” is awesome; answering it might mean breaking a few eggs. Find a safe, appropriate place then let your child experiment!

Encourage “failure.” Let your child attempt things without the fear of being scolded if he doesn’t do something perfectly. Kids who are brought up to fear making mistakes are less likely to engage the world creatively and may end up taking a less confident approach to life.

Create alongside your child. Is your child taking piano lessons? Consider taking lessons with him. Does she like photography? Ask her to show you some of the finer points of taking great pictures. Pursuing creative interests with your child allows for fun interaction and strengthen bonds with your child.