Hoping that your child is as creative as you are is normal. After all, you’re a music mom who has experienced the joy, growth, and sense of accomplishment that come from unleashing your creativity, and now you want those things for your favorite little person.
The best part? We generally don’t have to teach kids to be creative. They seem to have a natural instinct for it. If we give them the proper tools and get out of their way, kids will create more than we could ever imagine.
Eventually, though, some obstacles might get in the way, including fear, time restraints, and passive entertainment, among others. This is where we, as parents, step in.
If you find yourself wondering how to overcome these obstacles, check out these 4 ways to help unlock your kid’s creativity – including the wild and crazy stuff!
Provide your kids the resources they need for creative expression.
The most important resource you can give kids is time. They need tons of it so they can engage in self-guided and unstructured play in which they’re completely free to use their imagination.
Another resource necessary for creative expression is space. Make a space that is solely theirs to play in, create in, and make a mess in. Perhaps a room in your basement or attic could work. Make it their own personal area where they feel comfortable, somewhere they can paint, dress up, play Legos, or bang on the drums.
For their next birthday or Christmas gift, give your child items that will contribute to their creative growth. Blocks, costumes, art supplies, old instruments, dispensable cameras – all these are items that your kids can use whenever they want.
By making sure your child has these valuable resources, you’ll be ensuring their growth as creative individuals.
Allow your kids the freedom to explore their ideas – no matter how wild and crazy they seem.
Generally speaking, kids have active imaginations that can lead to some pretty wild and crazy ideas. Remember that three-headed lion swimming in a bathtub that your son randomly drew? Or that extremely silly song about how her pet could “faaaaaaaart with all her heaaaaaaaaart!” that your daughter composed and then sang for an entire day?
Well, that drawing and that song were products of your child’s imagination. They were very early expressions of their creativity. Instead of focusing on the silliness factor, focus on how unique and imaginative they were. It’s much too easy to dismiss them, but don’t.
Embrace your child’s wild and crazy ideas and encourage them to continue drawing, writing, painting – whatever! Make sure they know that their ideas – no matter how silly or way out there – have value.
And then, to prove that not all creative output needs to look or sound a certain way, introduce them to stuff like The Beatles’ “I Am the Walrus,” Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London,” and The Police’s “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da.”
Or, to really make the point, you could just browse the paintings of Picasso.
Ask lots of (good) questions about your kid’s creations.
One of the best ways to inspire kids to be creative is to show them you are interested in their creative endeavors. There’s no better way to do this than to ask questions about their creations.
Instead of giving a generic and half-hearted compliment like “Wow, I like that!” (something they’ve likely heard a thousand times), ask sincere questions like “What were you thinking when you drew this?” or “What was your inspiration when you wrote this?”
These types of questions will convince your kids that your interest is genuine, and they will give them an opportunity to analyze their thought process as they create.
Set a positive example by showing your kids how to be creative.
I’m sure you know this, but your kids are always watching you. They see and hear everything you do. More important, they also copy what you do and say. To put it simply, they do everything they can to become little versions of you.
This gives you an excellent opportunity to model the type of creativity you want them to eventually display. Let them see you hashing out the chords to that brand new song you’re writing. Show them the lyrics you’re struggling to complete. Invite them to the studio to watch you record your new album. Make them a part of the process.
Most important? Don’t obsess over the final product that you’re creating. Show your child that the process itself is the most important part of the creative journey. This will encourage them to have a positive relationship with their creative side, no matter what struggles they encounter along the way.
Show them that being creative can be a messy, imperfect, and sometimes frustrating process, but it can also offer growth, learning, excitement, and all types of rewards.
As a parent, you are most responsible for your child’s creative development. This is both a blessing and a challenge.
But if you follow the steps above, rely upon your own innate sense of creativity, and continue being the supportive parent you’ve always been, there’s no doubt that you’ll soon unleash your child’s creativity like never before.