The pressure is on as modern parents. Not only do we want to see our children thrive as happy, healthy kids who enjoy their childhood – we want to see our children become thriving, fulfilled adults when they leave home. Here are 7 ways to use creativity to help them later in life:
Creativity shapes their mindset
The mindset we help develop in our children will stick with them for life. The more we can encourage them to believe in themselves, and their abilities, the more they will be able to achieve. Establishing a ‘growth mindset’ helps our children believe that with effort and practice, we can get better at the things we’re not great at, and creativity is a brilliant way to nurture this way of thinking!
Through creative experimentation, practice and permission to make lots of mistakes, our children can see first hand how they get better over time. They might not be as good as they want to be at drawing, sculpting or painting YET… They might not be able to build that Lego set alone YET. But with practice – they’ll get better!
Creativity helps process emotions
While they are no ‘bad’ emotions, there are destructive ways of expressing our feelings. Often the two get confused (anger is not destructive, physical aggression or saying unkind things is) meaning the expression of emotions is taught to be held back, silenced and suppressed. This suppression of emotions can cause big problems to mental wellbeing in later life.
Being creative when we’re happy often comes without effort – dancing, singing, drawing, making… But with prompting, creativity can also be a safe space for your children to process their harder emotions. For example, they could: scribble out frustration, rip cardboard to release anger or write stories or journal out their thoughts to express sadness.
Teaching our children to process their emotions safely now ensures they have the tools to do so in adult life.
Creativity makes problem solving easier
Everytime our children create they’re learning how to problem solve! “What colour will work best here?” “What material will be strong enough for this?” “How will I make it do that?” “How can I improve this?” The more our children create, the easier it becomes for them to think strategically and come up with creative solutions to their problems – big and small.
Creativity strengthens intrinsic motivation
Instrict motivation is the want to get something done for the internal reward it provides rather than external praise or reward. Intrinsic motivation is key to a fulfilling adulthood. It helps us to be motivated by our own needs and desires rather than materialist rewards or the recognition of others.
The creative process naturally provides those internal rewards for our kids. Think about the sense of satisfaction your child feels when they finish an artwork or complete a puzzle. The more our children create and problem solve, the easier they’ll find it to be intrinsically motivated in the future!
Creativity teaches self-expression
We all long for a sense of identity as adults. This identity begins to form in childhood and is something we consciously and subconsciously express throughout the rest of our lives. The more creative we are (or the more we’ve had our innate creativity nurtured) the easier it is to express this sense of identity and experience the fulfilment of living it out.
Children who’ve had the freedom to create (and value creativity as a useful tool) will have an easier time exploring their identity, safely expressing themselves and confidently sharing their authentic selves with the world as they grow.
Creativity promotes mindfulness
Alongside the benefits of creativity as a mode to process emotions, creativity also provides a space for mindfulness. A space to be still, escape from everyday stresses and connect with themselves again. Creativity and mindfulness might look like singing, dancing, painting, colouring, knitting, lego building… there are no rules! Make a note of what creative activities most easily calm your child and remind them to revisit these throughout their lives.
Creativity provides freedom
Ultimately, creativity provides freedom. As parents, we can’t protect our children from everything – no matter how great their childhood – they will go through tough times. But creativity will be a tool to help through it all.
A look through this list and it’s clear: creativity can help us heal, grow, express ourselves and solve our problems… Creativity really can help your kids thrive!
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