There’s no doubt that it takes a lot of work to raise a tiny human from diapers to diplomas. You need them to be successful in life, but you also want to make sure they have creative outlets so they don’t stifle themselves in the humdrum of modern existence. Here are eight ways to instill creativity and character in your children.
Be a Role Model
Simply put, if your kids see you being a good, creative person, they’ll mimic that behavior. People are always telling you to eat vegetables yourself if you want kids to eat them (though that bag is very mixed at best), but you also need to do it everywhere else.
Want your kids to be artists? Let them see you being an artist. Want them to treat those less fortunate with compassion? They’ll see the good effects this behavior has and try to emulate it.
Make Use of Pivotal Moments
This goes beyond simply explaining the concept of death with a deceased goldfish. It extends to morally correct behavior. If your child does something wrong, you can’t just toss them in the corner. You need to take the time to calmly explain to them why it was wrong and why they shouldn’t do it. They need to associate the crime with the punishment, as it were. Each consequence must have a matching and equal value.
It’s important for kids to have a healthy imagination, and what better way to instill that than to weave stories about fantastical realms and creatures? And it’s not just limited to fantasy, either. You can regale them with great stories of classical literature to make sure their read pallet is diverse and interesting from an early age.
Allow Them to Practice
With learning comes failure before success. This is especially true for children and whatever you teach, they are going to fail at first before they get it right. Whatever decision they have to make, whatever obstacle comes their way, remind them of any lesson or consequence they faced in a similar situation and ask how they think they can overcome it.
They’ve seen you handle these situations with grace. Now they need to act upon their knowledge on their own.
Get Creative With Teaching
Children learn better when they’re faced with things they’re naturally inclined toward. So when they’re forced to learn something that doesn’t interest them, you often have to get creative yourself. Math for instance is a major bane for many a child, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Invent or find a creative and fun game you can play with your child that teaches them math without them even realizing they’re learning it. They can have fun and learn subliminally, and they’ll retain these skills more easily through the investment they had.
Pay Attention to Your Child’s Interests
Show some attention to what your child is most affixed with. Maybe it’s painting, or sports. Maybe it’s animals. Who knows? Whatever it is, encourage that child to continue pursuing that interest. They’re naturally going to improve at those skills and the interest they maintain throughout will allow them to keep getting more and more creative with the activity as they get better at it.
If your kid loves the violin, then get them a violin and let them try it out. Hire a tutor if you have to. If you need online resources to help your child to stay motivated in practicing, you can check out FiddlersGuide for some great free resources that can help young children learn the violin.
Make Them Ask Questions
Your kid is going to ask questions. Encourage that. The world is big, much bigger than they could ever imagine. It’s important to make sure they see it for everything it is, both good and bad.
If they ask simple questions like why the sky is blue or why the grass is green, do your best to answer it honestly. But you should also ask them questions too; ask them these same questions, engage them in conversation and open their worlds up a little bit more with imagination and curiosity.
Don’t Hide The World From Them
Kids are going to grow up. This is natural. They’ll learn just how difficult the world can be as they grow and it’s important to keep them as curious and hungry for more, as long as possible. However, there will come times when the reality of life will hit hard and they’ll ask the more tricky questions.
Questions about hardship and pain, questions about conflict and death. These are the questions you don’t necessarily have to broach yourself without context, but ones that children are inevitably going to ask. The best way to develop character is with honesty and telling them the truth calmly and gently will help them understand early on what their questions mean.