What Is Creativity:
We often associate creativity as a unique way in which, ideas are expressed and originality is born, just by mere thoughts and imaginations. This is because, the brain has such enormous power to create something which is not thought, or unheard of before. This is found more in children, as children are bound to less stress, they have a larger amount of time with themselves, and are outright flowing with thoughts and ideas all round the day in their tiny growing brains. In a simpler term, creativity is simply a way to give your imagination some life via artistic expressions.
How Creativity is Born in Children
One of the key reasons for that is the brain ages and grows largely during childhood, and hence is in a constant change of its cellular structure and neuron patterns. These neuron patterns, often change uniquely as the child gets experiences, and hence a constant changing pattern gives us a constantly changing ideas, which may sound strange to a grown human being. It is one of the reasons children have a variable attention span. As a result, we conclude that children have wild imaginations and great skills to imagine it. It requires an effort for us adults to imagine something completely new, but children do it easily. Now as we know that every human is different and no two humans have the exact same experience, we can say that the development process of a child’s brain is different and hence each of them has a different set of creativity and imagination. Hence one can now easily conclude that every child now has different imagination and hence a unique creativity.
Issue in Generalization
When we see the world today all, of us often complain about the fact that the creativity is consumed out of the children by the education system, or perhaps some other reason. In most cases, people do blame the education system, but how exactly does the education system or schools to be more precise, remove the creativity out of children. Like when we see a small kid the kid is full of imagination and ideas and something outright bizarre that happens in the developing mind.
The problem now arises is that in the school time children are exposed to extracurricular activities like drawing, craft, music and other activities which help them in creative areas. But here every child is subjected to draw or create one single thing which is generalized to all of the students, in the particular class and the standard. In many areas, the entire school boards controls what the child needs to draw and what the child needs to sing. And these standard things haven’t changed since decades, but we all know that we were a lot of different as a child to a child that we see today.
Because of this, the child is forced to generalize its creativity and ideas to that of what is instructed to him/her. This done over and over again suppresses the creative thinking of the child, and hence as the child grows we see the lack imagination over the years. Not only analyzing the subjects that focus on creativity, but also subjects the child often memorizes or learns generalized answers. In fact, in some schools, the child is criticized if he/she fails to replicate the memorized answer in the examination. This also encourages school staff, teachers, parents to make the children less indulge in the activities which enhance their creative and thinking and imaginative skills.
Even if the child knows the concept, the child can produce an accurate enough answer for any subject using his/her own words. Hence here the child needs to think and frame the answer to be written in the exam by him/herself. If at all it is difficult to make a unique art choice to draw or object to make in art class, we can at least give one session of free reign of thinking and creative madness to children. Where, the child will not be judged by marks of his creation, just by the beauty of it. Every child would try to make his/her own new view. Sadly, if we do this today the first thing the child would do in most cases would be that he/she would look into his/her neighbor’s sheet to copy it.
This is the main area where we see the death of creativity in the child. In the process of making it easy to judge the child for his/her artistic abilities, we created a system where everything is generalized for everyone. Hence the concept of creativity that is in most cases creating an entirely new and unique thing becomes redundant and as a result the creativity slowly dies out from the child. We rarely just give child a sheet of paper and ask him/her to make whatsoever the child desires on the paper. Later when this child grows up we have criticism for the child that the child isn’t a ‘creative person.’ The idea of creative problem solving also is hence in high demand due to this problem.
Another major reason for children to have their creativity suppressed, is the unintentional negligence in schools and home. We know in today’s world, both the spouses have careers and jobs to handle. When a child is born, the responsibility of parents increases massively, and they try their utmost to take care of the child. Still when the parents are busy in work, or have the work stress brought home, at times, it happens that children don’t get the attention and are ‘unintentionally neglected.’
Here again when a child looks up to you with a question needing to be answered, many times we just shun or ignore the child, asking not to be disturbed by them. I completely understand that the work load can make one behave like that, but one must also responsibly go back to the child, apologize for the shunning and encourage the child to ask the question again, however stupid it may sound to our adult ears. The child must have done some work and effort to have the question in his/her mind. In shunning the child, we clearly make the child’s efforts redundant, and in doing so we unintentionally discourage them to think and imagine.
To make things worse we often make the child turn to technology as its babysitter. This has its pros, I agree, but majorly only affects the child negatively. The use of technology like browsing the internet, watching YouTube videos or any other thing, must be done under adult supervision. But we often give our children a game to play so that the child remains busy and the parent can relax. I know that many games are designed to make the child think critically, many shows and videos are educational, but the child needs to be guided to use them while using technology and not some other things which may dull the ability of them to think and imagine. Such negligence in children can also lead to various other issues like mental trauma. This is the last thing parents would desire to have in their children.
What Can You Do
Show Small Gestures:
By showing small effortless gestures like hanging your child’s painting on the fridge by magnets, appreciating the efforts of your child, taking the time to know what your child has been up to while you were out of the home, if your child creates outright bizarre (in a beautiful way) drawing, take the time to understand your children’s ideas and thoughts, you will appreciate it one day and so will your child. Just a small ‘well done I liked your idea’ would give a huge smile to your child and encouragement for days.
Participate with them:
Not only this makes you and your child bond together better, but also is a fantastic way to encourage your child into different activities. You can look up on the internet for various fun activities you can do with your child which will develop the skills of your child. This will really help the child massively to advance in whatever the activity is being done, you may even learn something wonderful and at the same time your child will also feel safe around your presence. Exchange ideas with them and slowly give subtle hints to make them progress if they are stuck in a problem. The child will always look forward to you when they are in a dilemma, just don’t outright help them, show them the path, they will walk on it willy-nilly.
Guide Them while they are exposed to Technology:
We all know the child rarely knows the answer from right or wrong. It is the responsibility of the teacher and the parent to show them how the task needs to be done in the right way. Main area where the child is prone to such problems is when they use technology, the child doesn’t know what needs to be done when using an app. I know kids today are really smart and adept in using technology more than some of us ever were, still they need to know what is morally right or wrong to search, what will help them in their skills and what will be a fun thing. The child can accidentally even stumble upon some very dark image, which may leave an impact.
Creativity in Classroom:
For the readers who are teachers, please make sure that children are provided some or the other creative activity, in which it can be easy to judge their work, and also kind of different unique experience to every one of them. You can ask them to draw any animal they can fancy, a cow with wings, fishes with legs. If some child just draws something which seems ordinary encourage the child to think more out of the box, ask them to get a little wilder with their thinking.
Encouragement and little Freedom:
Giving the child a little free rein while making something on a piece of paper is a good way to encourage its imaginative capabilities. Hold a session in class where the child is encouraged to draw anything out of his/her mind and, make it a point that the child would not be judged on how well he/she does, and emphasize the activity in just being fun. This is also a great way for teachers to understand by the work of the children that which child is lacking creative skills and how can you further develop them.