Raising a creative child (part 1)

THIS article is precisely what I wanted to write about this week.  I'm going to break it into 2 sections for the sake of time.

Let's start with one of my favorite quotes (coincidentally, just like the article linked above :)

"The creative is the place where no one else has ever been.  You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition.  What you'll discover will be wonderful.  What you'll discover is yourself."  Alan Alda

side note:  When I was a youngster, MASH was one of my favorite shows.  My husband claims I was/ am  ignorant of pop culture... well, I'll show him... I still know the words to the MASH theme song!  Julie=one cool kid.

Raising creative kids is something that is always in the back of my mind.  While a School Counseling Graduate student, I took a class called "Counseling the child and adolescent".  That course should be mandatory for all parents.  I think about it all the time and incorporate gems of wisdom, many of which support creative thinking, into my parenting.

So, let's look at Kiwi Crate's list:

1.  Mistakes are good.  This is also a key component of Love and Logic, a parenting technique/ philosophy that we taught in my last school.   This (Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood: Practical Parenting from Birth to Six Years) book sits constantly on our bedside tables... we always intend to be rereading/ consulting it.  Basically, hope and pray that your youngsters make LOTS AND LOTS of mistakes.  Mistakes are opportunities to learn problem solving skills, experience consequences and learn to make better choices.  I'm all about Hazel making mistakes now when a mistake leads to cheerios thrown all over the couch or a toy being snatched out of a friend's hand... as opposed to drunk driving, stealing from a store, inhaling.
getting into diaper rash cream during nap time.  Hazel was generous enough to give me a few chances to parent this one correctly.    finally, I stopped reacting in anger and calmly removed all "injured" toys from her room for a few days....until I got around to cleaning them.  hasn't happened since!
2.  Embrace a good mess.  This is a sticky wicket.  There are parts of every day when I feel totally overwhelmed by the constant clean-up.  Montessori emphasizes children playing with one toy, on a mat and then putting it away promptly.  I'm fairly certain angels sing when this happens.  However, constantly stopping the kids during their play and "encouraging" them to clean-up is like punching creativity in the face.  A balance.  I try to designate areas of the house that are allowed to become a mess (the toy balcony).  Once or twice a day (on good days), the kids join me in putting all the toys away.  However, areas like the block ottoman (I keep blocks in our living room ottoman) and the book basket are set-up so that as soon as a toy is done being played with, it goes RIGHT back.
      one of those times when it wasn't a big deal to just let the kids get messy.  my first reaction was to say "STOP", but I caught myself in time!  after painting, Hazel and her buddy Logan (near the window) got to play in the bathtub.  double fun!
    3.  Be mindful of when you praise.  Something stressed in Play Therapy.  It is so tempting to follow the kids around, complimenting them on every single thing they do.  "You threw the ball!  GOOD BOY.", "You scribbled on a piece of paper!  Pretty picture.", "You ate a bite of banana!  GOOD GIRL.".  Seriously?  Actually, I'm not all that impressed and that picture is nothing.  Constantly complimenting our kids teaches them to crave praise for the tiniest of reasons.  As they grow older, they know whether or not something is truly impressive, so if we compliment them on their mediocrity, what are we teaching them?  Instead, I use a play therapy technique called tracking.  I let the kids know that I am paying attention and what they are doing is important by simply naming their actions:  "You colored with green and blue.  You're throwing a ball.  You're trying new foods."  
    4.  Be open-minded.  Like I shared in this post, in this house, it's not "MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY".  We encourage dialogue and creative thinking.  Though our kids are not our equals, we listen to what they say and consider their points.  Not a big deal at the time to let Hazel choose which bed to nap in or decide we should go to the park.  This also ties into letting them make mistakes.  Rather than fight over putting a hat on for a short walk to the mailbox, I can save my energy and let Hazel endure a natural consequence.

1 comment:

  1. In theory, awesome. In actuality- hard to do. Thanks for the reminder. You're such a good mom.


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