INTRO OFFER: Access the web app for less than 10 cents per day!  Test drive

The Science of Keeping Kids Engaged-7 Steps For Inspiring Creativity In Young Minds At Home

Creativity is not an inborn talent, it is an attribute that can be grown and developed, like a muscle. 

Sure, it’s true that some people are born with spectacular abilities—what else can you say about the likes of Picasso, Michelangelo, Jimi Hendrix, or Timothee Chalamet?

But that doesn’t mean that everyone can’t be creative. Creativity simply means the ability to create, to think out of the box, and to allow the mind to wander to places not often explored.

Nor is it solely about producing a work of art. Creativity is required for scientific inquiry, math, finding solutions to everyday problems, and even social and emotional intelligence. Creative people are, therefore, better equipped to take advantage of the many opportunities they will be faced with in life.

Besides, creativity is an essential component of health and happiness overall. That makes it a core skill to develop in children.

Don’t worry, you don’t need to send your kids to “creativity class” or force them into an activity they don’t like. Children are naturally creative, so a large part of what you have to do to help them develop that attribute is just let it grow.

This post is going to give a few tips on how you can help grow creativity in your kids at home.

1. Give them the resources they need to be creative

It isn’t just about getting your kids “things” that can help them be creative, it’s about giving them a time and space for unstructured exploration. 

A lot of what they will learn in school is structured education, and all of that stuff is very important because it lays the base for them to understand the world around them.

But creativity requires a lack of boundaries and structures, and yes a few simple tools can help. Give your kids a time, and if possible a space, that is dedicated for them to do what they like without any parental guidance. Let them paint, play with Legos, tinker with an old camera, and so on. Resist the urge to “show them how it’s done” and let them stretch their imagination.

2. Slowly add more tools to their inventory

You don’t need to dump every kind of art medium and toy on your kids at once. But access to a wide variety of tools gives them a chance to stretch their mind in different directions.

Besides, you’ll be able to see what they take to quite easily. If you’ve bought a clay set and you don’t see them using it after a few days, then you know you don’t need to invest in that later. But they will show an affinity to certain other things, and you’ll know that’s where you need to focus.

Also, it’s a good idea to convince at least your family and close friends that birthday gifts ought to be art supplies, cheap electronics, building supplies, and other raw materials that can be “worked on” rather than toys to simply be played with and forgotten.

3. Tell your kids that it’s OK to fail

The fear of failure is perhaps the single greatest threat to any creative effort. This fear starts developing early in a child’s life. But if a child can’t mess around and figure out what works and what doesn’t, then who can?

In fact, the greatest young entrepreneurs of the current age who went on to start some of the world’s biggest companies—Uber, Spotify, Amazon, and more—are certain that the key to success is to “fail fast and often”. That is, to try things out quickly, see if they are working, and move on if they aren’t. Maybe 1 out of 10 ideas will come to something, but it’s that one that launches them and their business to the next level.

So tell your kids not to worry too much about the output. Tell them to go ahead and start that painting, put those blocks together, write that story, and not worry how it will turn out. It’s the process of the activity that is more important than the outcome.

4. Ask them to share

Kids are always eager to show what they’ve done, so this probably won’t take that much encouraging. But be sure that they also share what went wrong with you. Again, it’s important to emphasize process over outcome.

Ask questions that will probe into their creative process. Something as simple as “How did you come up with the idea for this?” has the potential to turn into a very insightful conversation.

And remember, conversation is a two-way street. Be open about your feelings, and feel free to share your opinions. Give your kids the benefit of your years of knowledge and insight. Make sure that they know what you are thinking as this will encourage them to be more open.

5. Let them disagree with you

That is not to say that you should let them disobey you!

Rather, it helps to allow them to display divergent thoughts. So instead of outright saying “no, it’s like this…”, indulge them. Talk it out with them. Avoid thinking “it’s quicker to get them to listen right now, I’ll talk it out with them next time” because that next time doesn’t come.

Differences of opinion should be celebrated, not shot down. If children are scolded every time they have a divergent thought, they internalize this response and are less likely to question things later as an adult. This leads to conformity, doing what the herd is doing, and ultimately is the death of creativity.

6. Get involved in their creative pursuits

Nothing encourages creativity like getting your hands dirty with your kids—figuratively or literally, as required.

It shows them that you are interested and that being creative is OK. As far as possible, and as far as your child desires, get involved in their projects. You don’t need to be an expert in whatever they are doing, that isn’t what the creative process is about—it’s about being in the process of creation.

You may even find some benefits of this exercise rubbing off on you!

7. Encourage, don’t reward creativity

Lest they begin to see it as an easy way to get goodies and kudos, you don’t need to reward your kids every time they exhibit creativity. After all, as adults we know that the result of creativity is often its own reward.

Or at least, that’s the perception we want to set up. Our output-focused culture often robs us of the sheer joy of creating something for its own sake. Hobbies are seen as a waste of time unless they can somehow be turned into a money-making enterprise, but that was never supposed to be the point of being creative. That is not to say that one shouldn’t profit from their creativity if they can, but it shouldn’t be the sole motivation. 

As a closing thought, let it be reiterated that the outcome of a creative project is not that important. Not everyone is going to be able to make a sustainable career out of their creative pursuits, but that is not the point of creativity anyway.

The point of creativity is to be in the process of creating something. It is about experiencing those emotional ups and downs that occur in that process, and about allowing your mind to wander into new territory. That’s what creativity is at the end of the day—a mind game, one of the most important your kids will learn to play.

Preparing Your Children For the New School Year With The COVID-19 Situation

The coming school year will be unlike any new school year that kids – or parents – have ever faced. Schools in Georgia will be reopening for the new year come fall, but counties are doing it their own way. In-person instruction, virtual learning, and a combination of these are the possibilities.

The prospect of a new school year is exciting and anxiety-inducing for children as it is. But this year will have the added anxiety of being the first school year since the COVID-19 pandemic shook the world. 

As a parent, you must be prepared for whatever protocol is to be followed. No matter what it is, it’s going to be different for your kids for sure. Here’s what you can do to prepare your child for getting back to school this fall.

Establish New Routines

Start getting them into the rhythms of the school day at least a week in advance of the reopening.

This will be especially pertinent for children who will be doing distance learning. It will be very important for them to mentally separate time allotted for learning and school work from regular home time. Many kids will just not be used to attending classes without the direct supervision of their teachers, especially when all the comforts of home are right at hand.

Georgia test prep-graphical representation student learning with social distancing

Involve your children and make the process positive. Discuss with them the issue of homework, and establish when would be the best time for them to study. Help them set up their virtual-learning area. Activities like these will help kids prepare mentally for the coming school year.

Just remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for this. Be flexible and patient with your kids while they figure it out.

Limit Technology After Certain Hours

Phones, tablet, PCs, and gaming devices are always a ready distraction. Since kids will need to get back into the flow of school time, start limiting their use of technology after certain hours.

This will help them be rested and mentally ready for school the next day. Also, it will help them get reacquainted to the practice of focusing and not relying on the constant instant gratification of their devices that they have enjoyed over the summer break.

You set the pace. But start slow, and gradually keep winding down. It’s better not to start with a sudden and strict cutoff. Make the process easy for them.

Make Sure They Understand The Need For Safety

Only very young children would be unaware or not understand the gravity of the COVID-19 situation by now. But no matter what age your kids are, start strongly reinforcing personal safety protocols. It may sound like repetition, but it is very important to emphasize their importance.

Encourage them to wash their hands often and be wary of touching their face. They should carry a mask at all times. Implore them to tell a teacher if they feel anything like a symptom of the flu.

Graphical representation of need for safety for child during covid19

These are good practices for all children, and not just those who will be attending school in-person. With the country testing the waters with reopening, this is a good opportunity to reinforce these practices with your kids.

Address Their Feelings

Things are going to be different. Class sizes might be reduced to allow for social distancing and certain activities might be restricted. Even seemingly simple things, like the sight of everyone wearing masks, will be a major departure from normality.

Change can often be difficult for a child.Help them navigate these changes. Have open and honest discussions with them, understand how they feel about this situation and its implications. Remember that adolescents will have the added burdens of puberty to deal with. Really listen to them instead of just offering your own opinions. Talking to them can do a great deal to put them at ease.

Participate In Safe Back-to-School Activities

Check whether your child’s school organizes virtual get-togethers. A lot of anxiety can be assuaged by meeting their new teacher, having a look at their classroom, and maybe even getting to know some of the other kids. 

If such get-togethers are not an option, you can always help your child review their school’s website for information and pictures.

picture showing indoor online learning kid

For Those Starting A New School

Your kids are probably already talking to their friends about starting school again. But if your child is joining a new school at this time, then it’s important to take extra care to make them as comfortable as possible.

Give a little more time for transition talk to address their back-to-school worries. You and your child could look for pictures of the school online, or on their official social media account if the school has one. Reassurance is the key.

Make Back-to-school Fun

Don’t lose out on the fun element of getting back to school. One of the activities that kids love most at this time of year is picking out their new school supplies and new clothes, and needn’t be missed. Help them plan what kind of things they would like to take for lunch. And remember, always keep up the positivity!

Learning Is Still The Priority

Make sure this is not lost on your children. The reason that schools are reopening in spite of the current situation is because of the importance of their education. Classwork, homework, and study are the priority. Help your children come back to this mind-state, and to maintain it throughout the school year.

It’s going to be a challenging time for children and parents. The school districts are doing their best, but it is up to everyone to stay vigilant. The most important thing to remember is to keep an open dialogue with your children, actively listen, and keep giving them positive reinforcement.

How Georgia Test Prep Can Help

It’s going to be difficult for children to adjust to the new modes of learning in this very novel time. And although the State of Georgia will not be having standardized tests like Georgia Milestones this year, Georgia Test Prep can still help. Repetition and practice is the key to establishing a good foundation. With Georgia Test Prep, children can practice GSE questions based on their math and language curriculum online and from the comfort and safety of their home, giving them an edge in their schoolwork.