Encourage curiosity and don’t box your child with labels!
By Amita Bhardwaj
“ Let the child be the scriptwriter, the director and the actor in his own play.”- Magda Gerber
There isn’t likely to be a parent who wouldn’t, in theory, want to raise their child to be his or her most creative self. Yet the demands of daily life can often come in the way of allowing the child to be the scriptwriter, director and actor of his play. If you find yourself floundering in this journey, here is help. Being mindful of these 10 tips can go a long way in offering a nurturing environment for the child’s creativity to flourish.
Allow for a little “mess”
Who does not like a house that is spic and span and does not have a thing out of place? Yet, in imposing too many rules about keeping the house clean, remember that unless the child gets his or her hands dirty, there is little chance that he can try anything new. In giving the child permission to create some mess, you are in effect permitting him to cater to his explorative side.
Offer age appropriate choices
When you are racing against time it may sound like a good plan to simply give the child instructions and have him or her follow them. However, it may still be a good idea to offer the child some age appropriate choices that allow for their thinking capabilities to develop. So asking if they would like jam or butter on the bread may be far better than offering a meal and expecting them to eat it.
Don’t make failure a taboo
Let’s face it, the only guarantee of not failing, is not trying anything new at all. Yet, we place an undue premium on success. Instead of coaching the child to never fail, allow him to try his hands at new things and fail at some, if he must. Exploring many different things will give him or her the much needed exposure and to discover for himself the things that he loves and is good at.
Reward the journey not the destination
When you have a success-oriented mindset alone, you tend to praise the child only for the positive outcome and not the effort he may have put in a certain activity. Extrapolate this to life and what you have is a result-oriented individual who forgets to enjoy the journey in search of the elusive destination.
Every parent has experienced that neverending “why” that comes after just about every sentence and brings one to one’s wits end. Yet as far as possible try not to thwart the child’s curiosity as a curious, exploratory mindset can go a long way in defining how the child goes about life at large.
Don’t box the child with labels
While it may be human tendency to ascribe neat labels to everything, as far as possible refrain to do it with the child. So labelling the child “ not good enough” or even the seemingly harmless “tomboy” goes a long way in defining the child and becoming his or her inner voice, something that he has to struggle to break out of, in later life.
Allow for boredom
“ Mom, I am bored”, may be one sentence that may push you to immediate action trying to look for avenues to keep the child occupied. It may help, however, if you allow the child to be bored and look for alternatives on their own. In fact, amidst the busy rush of life and the many classes that children these days attend, some amount of unstructured time can go a long way in enhancing their creativity.
Minimise screen time
For the same reason, keeping screen time minimal can go a long way in giving the child time and opportunity to hone his or her creative instincts.
Schedule reading time
Ensuring that reading is a part of the child’s schedule comes from setting a routine while the child is young. By introducing him to reading early, not only are you helping him make friends for life with books, you are also enhancing his creative streak, as he takes to imagining the many exploits that you read out to him.
Lead by example
Most importantly, however, lead by example. There is no better way for the child to learn creativity but see it modelled by you!
(The writer is Director-Curriculum with Footprints Childcare.)