By PREMA JAYABALAN
TAP INTO YOUR CHILD’S CREATIVITY
We all dream of bringing up children who will make extraordinary breakthroughs and create a name for themselves in this world.
It could be creating environment-friendly cars, fighting for human rights, finding a cure for cancer or even concocting a potion which would allow humans to eat all we want without putting on any weight.
Every parent wonders how the childhood of famous leaders and entrepreneurs such as Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg would have been. How did they come up with such creative and innovative thoughts?
According to Ed Zuckerberg, father of Mark Zuckerberg in the New York Magazine, his wife and he did not apply any special child-rearing skills.
“The best I can say is that as parents, you can engineer the life you want your kids to have, but it may not be the life they want to have. You have to encourage them to pursue their passions. And you have to spend more time on them than you spend on anything else,” he says.
So what can you do to prepare your children to be innovative and creative individuals who are good leaders? Here are a few pointers:-
• Let them be messy
If you are pristine and can’t handle a disorganised environment, it is time to revisit your principles and bend them a little. Children need the freedom of space when they get creative and enabling them this will bring many interesting and creative outcomes.
That does not mean you let them splatter paint all over your white-themed living room. What you can do, is prepare their “get creative” spot, a designated place for them to explore with colours and get messy.
This is also an avenue for your children to realise their talents and leverage on them to develop their careers in the future. You may be surprised to discover that you have a Leonardo da Vinci in the making.
• Think outside the box
Indulge your children with activities that intrigue and excite them. Is it growing their own plants or just pulling things part and assembling them back together? Whatever it is, support and encourage them in their endeavours and assist them by giving them what they need.
Send them to classes that enhance their passion even if it’s not a conventional one. You might want them to take up piano classes but they may say they want to learn pottery.
If they like putting things together, tap on this creativity by collecting random things from the house such as towels, ropes, paper towels, boxes and even old magazines. Get them create something innovative with these things. Then ask them to explain what it is and what it can be used for.
• Spend time with your kids
Although we are all bogged down by our hectic schedules amidst our chaotic lifestyle, it is important to allocate time to spend with your children.
One efficient way is to practise eating as a family for at least one meal per day. Dinner would be ideal. Sharing a family meal brings many benefits. It’s often the time where meaningful and influential conversations take place.
You can do an activity such as picking a topic that needs a solution and getting your children to come up with it through discussions. It could be like a question-answer-session where you come with a question and your children would have to answer it.
For example, “What if you saw an abandoned puppy on the roadside? What would you do to ensure it’s safe?” or “What if there was a power failure for two days? How would you spend time without your computer, TV and PlayStation?”
Questions like these inspire your children and urge them to tap on their critical thinking skills. They also test their creative juices and keep them engaged.
We may not be raising the next Albert Einstein or Zuckerberg (or are we?) but we can adopt these simple ideas while cultivating creativity in our children and open the door for them to be great innovators.
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