In general, young children are naturally creative. Sometimes they come up with more ideas than you can keep up with. They also suggest a lot of things that you know won’t work. This can happen with adults too.
How is it best to respond to these situations?
1. Encouraging creativity or innovation in children and adults requires patience. It means you may have to listen to an idea and maybe hear about several different ways it could be done.
2. Appear interested in the ideas. Take time to ask appropriate questions that indicate you are truly listening. You might ask what he is thinking about doing with something or what she thinks will happen if she does a particular thing. The right kind of question can expand or open up the way someone thinks about something.
3. Be able to tolerate messiness especially with art or experiments like finger painting or making a volcano.
4. Be able to tolerate mistakes or things that do not end up working out well. There is much that can be learned from mistakes.
5. Avoid saying outright the idea won’t work as long as safety is not an issue.
6. Offer some suggestions that would improve the idea. However, it is important to not let your suggestions put you in charge.
7. Limit praise and rewards because true creativity is motivated from within. Research indicates too much praise or reward decreases creativity. Instead of praising every picture or idea he has, comment on his effort or originality.
8. Finally, model creativity or innovation. Your creative behaviors, such as being spontaneous, asking questions and experimenting with options can be learned.
Many of the above tips are helpful with both adults and children. Instead of narrowing the range of thinkig about something, they widen it.
Take time to live in the moment and appreciate fun. The key is to show by your comments and your behavior that being creative has value.
What has helped you be more creative?
To your success,