Everyone is creative! And as part of my travels on the subject I’ve met many innovative educators, and highly engaged parents, who actively look for ways to improve their practical skills in cultivating creativity. Kathryn Haydon, founder of Sparkitivity, works with families and educators to change the educational paradigm to one based on student strengths and creative thinking and is an author on the subject. I asked Kathryn to share some of the ways parents can better cultivate creativity at home. Be sure to comment on the article for a chance to receive a signed copy of a new book Kathryn co-authored, called Creativity for Everybody.
What do you consider to be some of the greatest myths about creativity?
MYTH: Creativity means arts and crafts, music, and theater.
REALITY: Creativity is problem solving that results in ideas that are unique and valuable. We use creative thinking in all facets of our lives (at work, parenting) and it is innate to everyone. It also can be practiced and improved, just like basketball or soccer or writing or cooking.
It is true that people express creativity in different degrees. You can think about it this way: Highly creative people are those who continuously practice creative characteristics, just like Michael Jordan continuously practiced basketball. Some people are more inclined than others to do these things, but we all are capable of curiosity, exploration, and new thinking.
What advice do you have for parents who want to cultivate creative thinking skills at home?
We begin to understand our own creativity identity when we have opportunities to discover and express our individual thinking, values, and motivations. Each of us, including children, need freedom for self-discovery. As parents we can give our children this freedom by releasing them from pressures to conform to pre-determined expectations, such as our own parental desires to raise a star athlete, musician, Ivy League grad, or successor in the family business.
It is exciting to view parenting as an adventure of child-discovery. In what ways might you become an observer of what makes your child light up? Make connections to known interests and motivations, and find different ways to explore them. Keep in mind that interests and motivations change, sometimes quickly, and that’s okay, too.
Where’s a great place to start?
Curiosity is a wonderful place to start. In our busy lives, it’s so tempting to live in the realm of factual inquiry and responses. But what if we ask questions differently to encourage original thinking, curiosity, and exploration?
“What if . . .?” questions are open-ended and call for higher-level thinking in the response. Another way to form open questions is to use the phrase, “What might be all of the ways . . . ?” The phraseology alone implies that there are many possible responses. We can have fun answering these with our children.
Even if you are about to encounter a battle, like room cleaning, you can employ open questions. A tense “Clean your room!” could change to “What might be all of the ways you can clean your room?” followed by a little humor in coming up with answers that diffuses the situation and involves a little humor.
Check out another 3 Question Interview, with award winning educator Jonathan Nalder.
Don’t forget to comment below for a chance to win a signed copy of Creativity for Everyone. You can also purchase the book on Amazon or www.sparkitivity.com/creativity-for-everybody.
Follow Kathryn on Twitter @sparkitivity and Facebook ttps://www.facebook.com/sparkitivity
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