Never Stop Playing
Adults can encourage creativity through play. Create a safe, supervised way to allow children to explore. Whether it’s puzzles, blocks, or dolls- play is a child’s mind at work! It allows children to explore their minds, create scenarios, and solve problems. It also highlights the natural fun in learning. Not only should adults encourage children to play, but they should also play with them while modeling problem-solving skills and creativity. No matter your age, never stop playing!
Follow the Child’s Lead
Often when it comes to children, adults will assume the leadership role. One way to encourage confident, creative children is to reverse those roles! If an adult is working on a project or playing with a child, they should listen to them. Be patient, don’t take the lead, don’t over-correct. Allow the child to experiment with solutions rather than providing one. This fosters confidence and problem-solving skills. Children might learn by watching, but they truly learn by doing.
Pay Attention to Children’s Interests
Creativity is a wide spectrum that can’t be defined by one trait or skill. Think about STEAM- science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. Each of those categories alone encompasses thousands of different ways to be creative. Adults can survey a child’s interests and help them find their niche. Perhaps a child does not enjoy painting on a canvas, but they love building structures with blocks. Help them follow that passion for architecture and engineering! Allowing children to spend time doing what they love can develop confidence, passion, and future career goals.
Focus on Non-Superficial Feedback & Compliments
Children aren’t born doubting themselves. They build their self-worth and confidence based on their interactions with others. Children often hear superficial, surface-level compliments.
“You’re so beautiful!”
“Look at that cute outfit!”
“What a lovely smile!”
While these compliments aren’t negative, it is important to ensure that children are complimented on their personality and brainpower. This is how adults can contribute to confident, resilient personalities. Adults can complement children’s problem-solving abilities, questioning skills, imagination, kindness, thoughtfulness, etc. Some examples are:
“Wow, I love how you thought about different ways to solve that problem and made it work!”
“It is so cool how you designed that tower by yourself! How did you come up with that?”
“I love the way you use your imagination!”
One of the major roadblocks in children’s confidence can be a fear of failure. Children learn how to respond to failure by observing the adults around them. Failure is beautiful- it’s an opportunity to build resilience and solve problems in new ways. Be intentional in modeling resilience as a failure response rather than disappointment. If a Lego structure tumbles, how can it be rebuilt with a stronger foundation? What can be changed to make it successful? Each attempt to accomplish a goal is a new opportunity to come back stronger. As Yoda says, “The best teacher, failure is!”
Children are incredible, inquisitive, and resilient beings! If adults practice these guidelines, they can contribute to raising a confident and creative generation