How to Say Yes to Your Kid's Creativity
Even if you're not 'creative'.
If you’ve been around here for a bit, or even if you’re new, you might call me a creative person. I do love to paint, draw, and of course write stories.
It is something that is hardwired in me and if I look back at my family tree, I know I’m not the first or the last.
But being creative comes with a few downsides. My husband would say more than a few. (Love ya, babe)
One you never know when creativity will hit. 11 PM drawing session, when I'm in need of sleep.
Two you never really know how big a mess it will make.
Or three how much time and physical space it might take up.
I volunteered to help with my son’s middle school spring musical and ended up painting all the sets and designing a dragon headdress. Which meant that paints and dragon pieces were dominating our kitchen and dining room for a couple of months.
But despite the chaos it was so much fun. So much that I might volunteer again, even though I won’t have a kiddo in middle school next year. (Don't tell my husband)
But even though I’m a creative person and love the creative process it can be hard to say yes to my kids’ creativity. I might struggle ‘slightly’ with control. Being creative is fine for me, cause I’m ‘in charge’ of the chaos, but when my kids want to be creative my blood pressure might elevate a bit.
So how do we say yes to our kids’ creativity, even if you aren’t a creative type?
Celebrate your kids.
First, we have to start by recognizing the gift of creativity, and what creativity looks like in our kids. Because creativity isn’t all paint and crayon. For one of my kiddos, creativity is math problems rubix cubes, and puzzles.
Read more about what creativity is in this previous blog post.
Find an unused cabinet or plastic bin that you’re kids can have access to and fill it with paper, stickers, crayons, cookie cutters for tracing, play-dough (if you dare), and children’s watercolors of paint pens. Gather a few odds and ends to fill your bucket. The Dollar Store is a great place to start, stay clear of Hobby Lobby (much love) because it will creatively vomit in your cart. I have to go into Hobby Lobby with cash only or my wallet and hubby might scream.
Life is busy and chaotic in itself. But creativity grows in the fertile soil of boredom. With time and space for your kids to play and discover they will not only learn more about themselves and their world. They will try new things, get frustrated, and try try again. Which builds perseverance and grit.
Einstein said once that “Creativity is intelligence having fun”. But if there is so much going on in your world there is less time for boredom and less time for creativity.
Read more about the Art of Boredom in this previous blog post.
Chaos will Happen.
Accept that there will be messes. There will be marks on the wall from time to time. But remember the goal. (18 Summers Post) The goal is to play, learn, explore, and at times that will get messy.
We have a saying in our house that ‘If you make a mess, you clean it up’. But when the paints come out, we define our painting space and have the tools to clean up any messes close by.
Clean up Together.
Make the clean-up time a time to encourage and speak the truth about your kids and what you saw in their creativity. Speaking life for your kids is so important. What we say to our kids now will be the inner voice speaking to them as adults. So make the clean-up time you know will come to be an intentional time of encouragement or prayer if they run off before everything is cleaned up.
Saying yes to our kid's creativity, in whatever form, is a part of helping them learn who they are and what they enjoy.
Yes, things will get messy. But memories are made in the mess, the type of memories is up to you. Yes, you will have art projects hidden in strange places.
But what a sweet childhood you would be gifting your child.