How to stifle your creativity in ten steps over at lifehack is a good template for how not to stifle your kids creativity.
Discourage fear in your kids, especially fear of getting it wrong or being ridiculed. Encourage ‘giving anything a go’. Don’t pass your own fears and misgivings onto your kids wherever you can help it. Reminds me I really need to let Erin go it alone a bit more in the cruising/climbing and investigating deapartment.
Accentuate the Positive
When they are struggling remind them of a time when they achieved something by trying again and again.
Don’t Plan Their Days To The Last Second
A hot topic at the moment, how many activities are too many activities? When there isn’t any time for free play!
Let them know it’s ok to be different. It could be this that helps them say no, when their friends are all saying yes later on!
Try Something Different
We all like to focus on the things we are good at, but trying new things is important. Rotate the toys, visit a different park, take a different route, there are opportunites to learn in every new experience.
Don’t Be The Dictator
Encouraging kids to make good decisions for themselves is what we should be aiming for. It’s pretty easy to dictate their every move, but, eventually they will be teenagers and we are going to need to rely on them to make their own decisions, I think I’d rather start early and encourage good decision-making before the decisions involve drugs, alcohol and other such teenage activities nudge..nudge..wink..wink.
Questions show that they are thinking about their world. The constant why’s are serving a purpose, remember, they are starting out with no knowledge whatsoever, it’s no wonder they have so many questions. So stay calm and answer as many as you can.
Follow Up On Ideas
Encourage them to follow up on their creative ideas and thoughts ie “Mum, this would make a really cool……” take that washing up liquid bottle and help them make that rocket, then encourage them to make a rocket launcher…. This has two benefits, being able to follow through on ideas, and love of learning, think about it, they will probably need to research what a rocket launcher looks like before they make one!
Ask Their Opinion
Make them feel important and worthy of an opinion. Even seemingly inconsequential things like “should we buy green apples or red apples” can be important to kids who are living in a world where they have very little control.
Encourage them to challenge themselves, even if you think they might fail (unless it’s dangerous), failing is something we all need to do so that we learn how to bounce back and achieve success next time. You never know they might just surprise you and themselves by achieving success the first time around.