When we see creative people, we usually think they’re just lucky. When someone can put a new spin on things or create something wonderful, we figure it’s something they were just born with - but that’s not totally true.
Creativity is a skill. It’s one that can be learned and it’s something that’s worth learning. The world our children are growing into isn’t going to have as much demand for manual labor as the one we know. They’re growing into a world where creativity is king.
You can’t start too soon. Kids start developing their personalities as soon as they are conceived, so developing creativity isn’t something you have to put off until they’re older. It’s something to foster as soon as your child is born.
Giving babies an environment full of music can help excite their brains and get their creativity working, even when they’re just newborns. Babies understand musical tones as communication - they hear notes and they think that the music is trying to tell them something. That makes them pay attention.
That’s good news because it's doing something to their brains. When a child listens to music - especially classic music - their spatial reasoning improves. The structure of the song fires up their spatial pathways, which gets their brains ready to function, and that can help them think visually.
The way you speak to your baby can affect how their imagination develops. When you speak to your baby in a musical voice, they react to it. The melody of your speech will excite your baby and you’ll get more of a reaction. But that doesn’t mean you should just use baby talk. You can still get that good reaction while building up your child’s concept of the world when speaking normally to them too.
You can take it further by giving them something to touch while you introduce new words. If, for example, you let your baby touch something soft while saying the word “soft,” it’ll help them understand the word. Plus, it will excite their imaginations early on.
As soon as a baby is one month old, they can usually practice reaching and grabbing balls and blocks. They might not be about to put together a Lego structure, but that type of play can already help build their spatial reasoning.
One big way children develop that spatial reasoning early on is by rotating objects. When a child rotates something, he gets a concept of what 3-D space looks like. That’s a bigger deal than it seems - rotating balls has been linked to better SAT Math scores. You can actually get started on developing a Rhodes Scholar when your baby is just a couple of months old.
The way your child plays with toys can also affect his creative development. Toys foster creativity when they’re used in creative ways. When you show your baby how to use a toy, it doesn’t do much good - but if you give your child a brand-new toy and make him figure it out on his own, it actually starts sparking his creative processes.
That doesn’t mean you need to bombard your child with toys - in fact, it’s the just the opposite. Creative play strengthens when children play with toys they’re already bored with. That’s when they start changing how they use it, and that’s what sparks creative thought.
If there’s one person who isn’t going to judge you, it’s your child (well, not for a few more years, anyway). While your child’s young, though, they’re going to accept everything you do, so don’t be afraid to have fun with them.
Smiling, laughing, and making silly faces can help make kids more creative. They’ll start reacting to it by three months and imitating it by five months. That means they’re learning how to be silly, even when they’re newborns, and that goes a long way in developing their senses of humor.
Sometimes it’s easy to pacify your baby by putting on the TV. But, if you can avoid it, it will do your child a lot of good. It’s not that TV is necessarily bad for your child, but it seems to slow development because of what your child is not doing.
When children aren’t watching TV, they’re getting chances to nurture language development by listening to you talk, they’re playing with things that stimulate brain development, and they’re building up stronger brains. But none of that happens if your child is starting at the colors on a TV screen.
Do you have ways to get your child’s creative juices flowing? If so, leave your suggestions in the comments section below.
It takes a village!
Join ours. Before we were parents, we were people. Sign up for tips and stories from parents who get it.