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Creative Parenting to Raise Creative Children

If you ever observe a lone child, you will notice they are always busy! Think about it, how easily we adults bore of things. We need movies and restaurants and drives to quench the thirst of our bored minds. But children? Leave them alone at home and they find unimaginable ways of using the most mundane things to engage their minds!

Keeping my 2 year old nephew busy is one of our primary tasks on any given day. It is a basic necessity of life for those of us at home who starve for just some time to lie down and relax. We adults tire out at the drop of a hat, but kids! They are driven by their curiosity! So one not-so-fine day, to our horror, we realized we hadn’t planned on how we would be engaging him. There had been a plan to get him play dough since he seems to always be interested in making artistic experiments. But among all the other adult priorities, it had been forgotten. So while we sat dreading the onslaught of “Don’t sleep, play with me!” and “Be my horse” or “get me another toy”, this little person found a packet of fruity chewies. After making promises of not eating them, he opened each one carefully, examined them with caution and after lots of trial and errors, and an hour later, he was ready with his creation: he had moulded them into a tiny bottle! I would never have imagined there was anything to do with them other than eat!

My proud sister says he has made “paintings” that are worthy of being framed and displayed at home! On asking how he learned to make them, she said she had just given him paints and a paper and his boundaries. He had taken care of the rest!

We are all born with talents and the greatest gift a man can have: imagination. But as we grow older, we train our minds to learn the ways of life. And where there’s a predefined path to follow, how can the mind find the liberty to pave its own way? Children however, have all the imagination, talent and curiosity in the world at their disposal….enough to let them find their own way…if given a chance!

As parents, what must we do to ensure we are not stunting our child’s creative growth? Let’s find out!
Let Go! As parents we think we must be involved in our child’s life. But remember, getting involved often translates into dos and don’ts for them, and that’s exactly what we want to avoid. Sometimes let them be, let them do their thing and be content in watching from afar to make sure they are safe. Give them the space to grow outside our self-made boundaries!

Enough with the ‘No’! Remember when we were kids and wanted to grow up every time we heard a NO? And then we grew up and realized we ended up saying NO to ourselves most of the time! Don’t make the same mistake with your kids. Childhood is the best time for them to experiment, learn and understand their passions! Yes they may make a fuss about enrolling in a dance class today and declare a week later that they didn’t want to do it anymore! Yes, they can ruin your floors and walls trying to make creations that make no sense! But atleast…they give it a try and make a choice! Say ‘yes’ more often, especially when all they want to do is try something new. Let them dabble in a numerous things, get their hands (and yours sometimes) dirty! You have nothing to lose, but they learn important lessons of life at each step!

Observe! Learn to notice your child’s interests and orientations! Sometimes children have inborn inclinations towards particular arts or sports. Some love to sing, some draw, some love to watch you cook! Support them in their interests whenever you can and to whatever extent possible. You might be setting them on the path of their future careers for all you know!

Answer! Children can often have an endless list of questions to be answered, and this can get frustrating! Yet, answer them when you can…Their curiosity defines the kind of person they become, so make sure you don’t thwart their attempts to find out.

It’s all about the fun! Kids learn through fun! Whatever their interests, make sure you further them in fun ways and increase the passion, not forcibly send them off to a grumpy strict class that only ends up nipping the whole thing in the bud! Get in the mud with them whenever you find time, learn with them, do things in their crazy way.. imagine their happiness when they can get to share their thoughts with you. You might be surprised as to why you never thought of it yourself!

It isn’t all about the future! Very often, parents tend to push children towards activities that they think would contribute to their future. So most end up giving great significance to their performance in academics. Which isn’t wrong, if you also encourage them to make time for other activities. It is most important for children to have all-round personality development. If not a skill to earn with, atleast let your child pick up something as a hobby to relax with for life.

Don’t make them fulfill your dreams! Yes, you wanted to become a dancer. But your daughter has a beautiful voice. They may be made from you, but learn to recognize their differences. Children often end up trying to please their parents so they can be proud of them. Show them you can be proud of them even when they excel in fields of their choice. Show them It is alright to be different.

Don’t make them live your fears! You might be scared of swimming but let your child decide if it’s an activity they would like to do or not. Don’t burden them with your preconceived notions and phobias. Trust that they can decide for themselves!

Push when needed! Some children need an added push to try things. They don’t like to draw, water scares them so no swimming, they look funny when they dance….excuses like these can exhaust you especially when other children seem to want to do these things. Don’t give up. Sometimes you need to push children to try new things. Once they develop a taste they start enjoying it. Let them attend a couple or more sessions before giving in to their NO!
Praise, yet be a critic! A child draws his confidence from the confidence of his parents. Show them that you love what they are doing and that you think they are good at it, initially. But also, as they grow, try to give them honest feedbacks. Only then can they improve.

Always Be Around! Lastly, always be around! Let them have the faith that no matter what they try next, they have you to fall back upon!

The dictionary defines creativity as “The use of imagination or original ideas to create something”. Original ideas. So don’t dream for your child to grow into an X or a Y. Don’t even dream for him to grow into a YOU. Dream for him to grow into the best version of himself, with his ideas, his ambitions and his hardwork! And that’s only possible if you let him be him right from day one. Make sure your little baby’s safe, make sure he’s happy. The other bit about learning and creating? They take care of it themselves!