How to Raise a Creative Child

Although some kids are born with natural talent in particular areas, everyone has the potential to push their creativity and develop highly innovative ways of thinking. Being able to think outside of the box and see the world in an original light are valuable skills to have at any age. In order to foster this sense of creativity in your child, it's not just about surrounding them with art supplies — it's about teaching your child how to think for themselves and being OK with getting messy in the process. These are the seven important ways to not only encourage curiosity within your little ones, but also to raise truly creative kids.

  1. Let them lead: Instead of always directing your child toward toys, games, or hobbies that you think they'd enjoy or excel at, take a step back and follow their lead. Child-directed play is essential not only for kids to explore their creative side, but also for them to learn how to think for themselves and take initiative to follow their own curiosities.
  2. Set an example: One of the most powerful ways for your child to learn how to follow his or her passions and value thinking outside of the box is by doing it yourself. It's one thing for you to create an open environment filled with creative stimulants, but if you lead a completely structured and close-minded life, it will be that much harder for your kiddo to break the mold.
  3. Build their confidence to fail: Learning how to fail and embracing mistakes in life are essential parts of developing an inventive side. Not only does it take positive self-esteem to be willing to try something new and possibly fail doing it, but it also takes confidence in yourself to know that you can clean up the mess if you do end up failing. Learning how to recover from defeat also teaches children how to look at future situations differently. Fear of a negative outcome will only hold a child back from exploring their innovative ideas.
  4. Don't fear boredom: Providing your child with an abundance of downtime and unscheduled play gives them the opportunity to explore their own creativity and not depend on technology or packed schedules to be entertained. By taking a step back and removing the pressure from their activities, you're encouraging them to develop their imaginative side instead of stifling it.
  5. Give them the freedom to discover: While it's important to broaden their exposure to a variety of activities and thought processes, it's just as important to encourage them to pursue whatever they find interesting — even if it's outside of your comfort zone or understanding.
  6. Value the process, not just the achievement: If you only reward the outcome and not what they put into it, you're not only potentially limiting their future pursuits by setting the tone that success is paramount, but you're also undervaluing what they learned along the way.
  7. Curb the rules: While having structures and rules is important in childrearing, overly limiting your child will stunt their creative potential. Instead of fostering unconventional thinking and pushing boundaries, you will be encouraging your kid to see things the same way and only do them within your strict parameters — or else.