Research says the first five years of a child’s life form the foundation that shapes children’s future health, happiness, growth, development and learning achievement. No wonder, the closets and cupboards, drawers and chests at home, overflowing with toys of various shapes, sizes, colors and functionalities are trying to find breathing spaces. Children’s rooms are full of the so-called Educational toys to boost critical thinking and reasoning abilities among young learners. Children reach home after school, to rush from one activity class to another. In an increasingly competitive world, there’s less time for a child to be a child, in the process of losing out on creative experiences which helps to develop social, emotional, communication and thinking skills.
“I am bored” is the most dreaded statement among young parents. The feeling of “lack of good parenting skills” sets in and we tend to create schedules and routines to ensure no time goes waste. What’s ironic is imaginative play frequently springs from boredom. Kids conquer boredom through their innovative and creative ideas.
Secret #1- Keep in-between/vacant times during the day
So next time your child says “I am bored”, say “Great, that means your brain is looking for something interesting to do!!”
Creativity focuses on the process of forming original ideas through exploration and discovery. Every experience or exposure is an opportunity for children to be able to build on their prior knowledge, to be able to express, know, understand, feel, think, and do something that they haven’t been able to do before. Good questions encourage children to think outside the box, developing creative problem-solving skills.
Secret #2- Reframe your questions
- “Can you see the rainbow in the sky?” versus “I wonder how does the rainbow gets into the sky?”
- “What is this part of the elephant called? (Pointing to the trunk)” versus “What would you do if you had a trunk?”
“When I want to see my child succeed in life, how can I allow him/her to fail?”, a scary concept and a dilemma for many parents. We’re well-intentioned parents, but the sense of fear, overrule our intentions. Only when we allow our children to face failure, they learn to find creative solutions to their problems. Inspire your child by telling stories where you have made mistakes and failed and how you overcame the same. Ask, “If you would have been in that situation, how would you have solved the problem”.
Secret #3- Share your failures
Play can be a very powerful creative tool. Smartphones, video games, and tablets or kids occupied in organized activities like soccer, violin lessons, and dance, do not fit the definition of play. Free play is the essence of early learning and freer the play, richer the learning outcomes for the child.
Secret #4 – Scaffolding play for creative development
Observe play, ask relevant questions, record observations, provide support to achieve and pose challenges for further learning.
Secret #5- whenever possible, do your best to give your child options for sharing knowledge
Art, dance, music, drama and the likes, provide venues for young learners to display, creative self-expression and to communicate and cooperate as they apply academic skills. Integrate these modes of creativity during the day and help your child to gain confidence and independence.
Children don’t think their way to creative work, they work their way to creative thinking. Let us create an atmosphere for the imagination to blossom and creativity to flourish.