Creativity is more accessible (and more effortful) than most people realize. Most parents want their kids to experience the joy and fulfillment that come from productive creativity–the kind of creativity that makes a difference.
Here are seven ideas for parents who want to support their children’s productive creativity:
1. Curiosity. All kids are born curious. They want to understand more about the world around them. Support your child’s curiosity, and you’re taking the first and probably most important step toward him discovering the joys of productive creativity.
2. Passion. Support your child in finding out what she wants to learn more about. Whether it’s musical, artistic, athletic, intellectual, domestic, scientific or something else, follow her curiosities, and help her think about possibilities for further exploration. A passionate desire to go farther is at the heart of productive creativity.
3. Opportunities for learning. Productive creativity is built on knowledge and understanding. Your child needs something with which to be creative. Help him find opportunities to learn and to experience challenge in his areas of keen interest. Productive creativity happens in all domains–a scientist or a chef can be as productively creative as a musician–so help him feel free to follow his interests wherever they take him.
4. Play. Play is an essential part of the creative process. It’s important that your child has lots of time for unstructured play, in which to figure out what interests him, and what he wants to know more about, as well as to rehearse and consolidate what he already knows.
5. Effort. Creativity requires a lot more effort than most people realize. Productive creativity sometimes looks like play, but more often it involves hard work. Productive creativity emerges when hard work is applied to the right kinds of learning opportunities, in the service of a passionate interest.
6. Persistence. There are always challenges and obstacles along the way to productive creativity. Support your child in developing a growth mindset, so she learns to see challenges and obstacles as learning opportunities. Persistence through the hard times leads to productive creativity over time.
7. Perspective. Help your child see that he is as creative as he decides to be. As Michael Michalko says in his blog post entitled ‘Twelve things you were not taught in school about creative thinking,’ ‘Every one of us is born a creative, spontaneous thinker.’
By supporting the development of your child’s productive creativity, you are increasing the chances he’ll find something he loves to do it, and will do it well enough to find fulfillment and satisfaction.