Picture this: you come home to see your child crafting a mini model of your house at the table. So immersed in the work that he doesn’t even realise that you’re there. The look on his face is a mixture of deep concentration and pure happiness. It’s already his fourth creative project that he himself initiated. Or your daughter who’s invented a fun little car from branches and other random material that she’s found around the garden. She’s jumping up and down with joy when she presents it to her collection of stuffed animals.
In the last decade, creativity became more and more of an accepted trait. Even a required asset in job descriptions. With all the research finally acknowledging how crucial creativity is for one’s life, there’s no wonder that parents are focusing on nurturing creativity in their children.
You’re probably wondering where the heck that link is to the ’50 art projects you can do with your toddler’ or the ’20 holiday handmade gifts your preteen will enjoy doing’. I wish I could give you some magic projects that would guarantee success. That would set your children up to a happy, creative life where they do creative work without even thinking twice about it. But there is no magic activity here.
While those projects have a place and time, most people actually end up doing none of the 50 that are listed. They can be crazy amazing activities, but still people won’t do them. Why is that? I’ve found that there are a couple of reasons. One being that until you won’t prioritise creativity for yourself, you likely won’t do any creative projects with your kids either. (I know, right?! It stings…) The other is that you might not have enough information or resources to do the activities, or it seems like more work to set it up and clean it up, then how much fun the kids will have with it.
So what’s the deal? Why is it so damn hard to just do those fun activities with your kids? I see a lot of parents who want their children to stay creative. Or asking how they can ignite creativity in their children. It’s something that parents REALLY want. There is no problem in motivation and there are tons of creative projects available on the web that require very basic resources. Then why can’t we do it?
I believe that most of us know, deep down in our hearts that the fun projects are not of primary importance. I already touched on it above, but the single most important thing you can do is model creative behaviour to your children. Yes, that’s right! We hear it all the time that children copy our behaviours. That a thousand words are still less effective then body language and habits they see us using. It is something they instinctively do. Modelling their behaviour after ours is actually a survival skill. Just like the bear cubs modelling their mother’s hunting behaviour while playing/roughhousing with each other. Or like the baby giraffe, who looks at her mother to know which plants are edible and which not. Mirroring our behaviours is one of the most powerful ways for children to learn.
So give the example. Be creative. Do carve out time for yourself (or together if you wish) to create. If you make this a priority for yourself, your children will grow up seeing it as a natural and normal part of life (which it really is). The best way to ignite those creative fires in our children is to allow ourselves the time and pleasure of creating. The rest will follow effortlessly.