6 Ways To Raise Confident Kids Through Creativity
Kids are naturally creative and curious. This is seen in the way they speak and learn language, play, create art and make-up imaginative stories. Adults often innocently stop creativity when they overcorrect children or tell them they are better or worse at things like art, creating, building, etc.
Parents sometimes compare and contrast between their own children and with other peers. This may be an innocent wondering of what their children may excel at but children perceive this kind of talk too often as, “I’m not good enough.”
How can adults get out of the way and encourage creativity and confidence?
- Give kids unstructured time. This means letting go of control and letting your kids say, “I’m bored!’ A great response back is: “I love it when you are bored because you come up with the coolest things., I can’t wait to see what you do next!! Kids may whine and beg you to help. Instead of jumping into the rescue, sit beside them or get on the floor with them and just watch and wait.
- Resist the urge to constantly praise your child. Let the intrinsic rewards or creativity be the reward. Piano recitals, art shows and contests for young children are often done more for the teacher and parents. Don’t put more emphasis on these types of events over just enjoying the activity in the comforts of their own home or school.
- Provide your kids with toys that can be used in more than one way. Blocks of all types, plastic animals or puppets, play dough are a few. Go with what inspires YOUR child!
- Replace generic praise with specific observations and encouragement about the process. Rather than “That’s so beautiful,” try “The shape of the wing makes the bird seem strong,” or, “You worked so hard on that, you used up almost the whole purple crayon.”
- Model creativity within the family. Draw, play music, cook, fix things, write. You don’t have to be a pro.
- Be optimistic in your language. I often hear parents say ‘I can’t draw’ or ‘I can’t sing’ in front of their kids, which makes me cringe. It’s important to play and take risks and mess around without defining ourselves as un-creative, which then gives our kids the idea that they might not be creative in certain areas. So, maybe we’re not confident in the kitchen, or with a paintbrush, but it’s important to ask, ‘I wonder what would happen if……….?’
This challenge to help and grow kids who are creative and confident requires a consistent approach and philosophy. Most adults who are creative would say that their childhood was full of different experiences and they were allowed to explore and create and make a mess!
We would love to hear your ideas on how you make your home a creative environment!
Curly Clues Club is a monthly box delivery service for kids ages 3-8, focused on social and emotional development. All boxes include original content designed with love by a speech & language pathologist.