While there are many advantages of easy access to technology, growing up in a technology-centered world can be harmful to kids’ normal creative development. Screen time interferes with the important process of finding out about the world through hands-on play. Your child spending a lot of time on devices may be inevitable in this age, but fear not: here are five suggestions for fostering your kids’ creativity in spite of today’s obsession with devices.
Transform that spare room you don’t know what to do with into a creative haven where your children have easy access to art supplies. If your children constantly pick up and play with things simply because they’re lying around, you can take advantage of this by making a room full of art supplies at their fingertips. Create a place where your kids can develop their artistic independence without distracting screens. Making artistic activities the norm rather than the exception will give your kids more opportunities to make art an essential part of their childhood.
Many parents worry about how to balance screen time with “real life” play without becoming a dictator parent. Maneuvering your children’s habits can be tricky: Banning or limiting access to technology might just strengthen its forbidden allure. Encourage your child to value devices for things like homework and research, but try to match the time spent staring at screens with real-life, hands-on activities that force your child to rely on their own imagination and problem-solving skills rather than a search engine. For example, challenge your children to put back together geography puzzles through critical thinking and trial and error, rather than looking up the shapes on Google.
It’s been said that if you’re afraid of making a mistake, you won’t make anything. These are valuable words to live by when raising your kids, who shouldn’t be afraid of coming up with and voicing creative ideas. Be careful to respond to your children’s ideas (however zany) with positivity and encouragement rather than evaluation. Go further by pushing your child to take the reins in creative problem-solving. Try letting your child find that there is usually more than one solution to a problem: for example, you could deconstruct a model and, without referencing directions, let your children find their way of putting it back together.
Dedicate a specific night of the week to making art, and your kids may even end up looking forward to it! Try a new medium every week. This way, your kids will be exposed to different art media and find a favorite medium with which they’ll develop their artistic expression. Make sure you familiarize your kids with new media, such as chalk or oil pastels instead of colored pencils, so they’ll feel more comfortable and autonomous with their own creations.
If you’re into gardening, cooking or DIY decorating, why not introduce your kids to your favorite creative hobbies? You might have to tweak the activity to make it child-friendly, but they will be exposed to a creative activity that might otherwise be replaced with video games. For example, if you’re a hobbyist painter, try scaling down to school-quality paints and smaller canvases to accommodate your kids’ attention spans. You want your kid to interact with you, not a screen. Not only will sharing your favorite creative endeavors with your child strengthen your bond, but it will also instill in them the basic skills for activities they themselves might grow to love.
This is an awesome example of a grandfather (Ozzy) coloring with his granddaughter (Pearl).
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