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the interpersonal and intrapersonal process
by which original, high quality, and genuinely
significant products are developed. “This
product could be anything from a painting
to a new game and in fact, all children are
born with creative potential,” she says. “This
can be nurtured and developed by the adults
in a child’s life by providing them with an
environment that fosters creativity.” A few
signs that a child may be creatively endowed
from an early age is when parents often report
that their child applies innovative ways of
approaching and solving problems—“They
may ask interesting and original questions,
combine different materials in a unique way,
constantly develop distinctive inventions or
perhaps display artistic and verbal creativity,”
she says.
How Parents Can Help
Be it painting or coloring, Singh stresses that
for young children, the process of actually
‘doing’ an activity is always the important
thing. “Many sensitive children are frightened
away from creative activities when they sense
that they are expected to produce something,”
she says. “Similarly, avoid evaluating your
child’s work--a child who begins to draw or
make up songs in order to please an adult has
already lost some of the courage to experiment
and enthusiasm for creativity that is so difficult
to hold on to as we grow up.” For the young
toddler, allowing the freedom to have creative
play can range from building towers using
building blocks to playing dress-up, rhythm
instruments and other activities which should
always be available, plus the supervised use
of sand, water, crayons, play dough and
paint. “Do not forget to allow and appreciate
creative--but not destructive--use of ordinary
household things such as pans, shoeboxes or
sofa cushions,” says Singh.
Why It Matters
In an era where multi-tasking takes
precedence, in the lives of our children today,
creativity is as important for the brain as a
healthy diet. “It can be a source of self-worth
for some children and it can prepare them
for many of life’s challenges, which require
a creative approach in order to succeed,”
explains Singh as children who are creative
will be prepared for the constant changes that
occur in our world, where they may have to
adapt to several careers in
a lifetime. “In fact, many
employers want employees
who see connections, have
bright ideas, are innovative,
communicate and work well
with others and are able to
solve problems,” she says, so
in other words, they need
creative people.
Creativity also allows
children to express their
individuality and without
this, their sense of self-
worth would not flourish
and they may feel confined,
indicates Singh. “The
freedom to express oneself
is a basic human need,
and creative expression is
the route to fulfilling this
need,” she explains. But
more importantly, creative
expression can be cathartic
for children. It can be a way
of expressing how they feel,
which is often difficult to
verbalize. “Art and Music
therapy are useful ways of
helping children express
themselves and are used
extensively in conjunction
with other modes of
therapy,” she says.
July/Aug 2013