Encouraging your kids to be creative and how that can help you

I am a creative person, I like writing (obvs!), I like drawing and colouring, and like creating things. It's always been something that both soothes me and fires me up. I can spend hours on end on a particular drawing or I can lose myself in a piece of writing. I love that and I can see similar traits in my eldest, BP (14 years old). LP though is less creative, he's more about the logic and the maths - but that doesn't mean he can't be creative. I spend a lot of time encouraging LP to be creative and actually he's not only learned a lot but found that he likes being creative (sometimes). This in turn has helped me because it means I can have a hot coffee while he does some creating.

A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others. 

Ayn Rand

Getting started

For someone like BP, someone who enjoys being creative, getting them started is easy. One of BP's favourite things to do is to write short stories or flash fiction and sometimes he asks for my input. A few months ago I started him off with an idea, I said to him "There's a girl, she's standing underneath a large tree in the middle of an empty field." That was all I said. It must've sparked something though because as a result he wrote this:

It all started in the darkest corners of the darkest places of the Earth. All around the world, trees, grass, plants, dying. The world, slowly being drained of its mesmerising greenery and replaced with dull grey and with that came death and despair. People were dying, killed by the mass amount of Carbon Dioxide in the air. The world had been poisoned and the human race and everything else on Earth was going to pay the price. Humans had been around for billions of years, until finally, all the hoaxes about the end of the world or the human race suddenly come true, the Ozone layer of the atmosphere almost completely wiped out as the world is cleansed. Maybe the end of the human race is a good thing, after all, humans did kill each other and not only each other, but trees, plants, greenery and animals, all of which were innocent. Humans had a lack of good judgement. If they thought that the end of their race was bad but the end of any other race doesn’t matter, then they deserved to die, and they did. All humans were cruel and selfish, their intelligence only poisoned them and spread the poison to the world, slowly killing it. All humans. All except for one. One of the last living humans on earth, a 17 year old girl who had a blonde ponytail, azure coloured eyes and mostly wore a bubblegum coloured dress which had poker black and white dots on it and hung down to her knees. She wore black patent school shoes, since it was all that she had left, and white socks that went up to her ankles. She kneeled in a field of what seemed like drowsy wheat, as they perished. The brightest thing in this grey field was her, a bubblegum girl kneeling in front of an old Oklahoma Redbud tree, it used to stand tall in all its pride and compassion, but now, it shrivels to a rotten state, its pure blush flowers ripped from their branches. The girl kneeled there, with a 2 pence coin in her hand, and she closed her eyes, made a wish and flipped the coin, and as it swivelled through the air, a dash of sunlight made its way through the misty clouds and shone upon the grand tree, and as the girl looked up at the tree, she smiled. She got up and skipped away, permeated with hope and bliss as a rose blossom sat there, on the closest branch to the ground, the sunlight still shone upon it as dashes of rain started to drop onto the grand tree, and hours later, the girl came back to find the drooping wheat closest to the blossom standing tall, as if they were proud. This was a sign. A sign that the Earth might forgive the humans for what they did to it. This was a sign of hope.

It is his favourite piece of writing and he always references it when he's thinking about writing more. 

LP is harder to get enthusiastic and writing is certainly not the thing he likes to do. What I have noticed though is that he enjoys watching me draw and before the Apple Pencil came out we used to sit at the table together and draw pictures on paper. He would love when I'd sit next to him and help with his drawings.

He recently bought himself an iPad and an Apple Pencil and has started using this to draw. Again it's probably because he's seen me doing it. But the great thing is that he's always asking questions and likes to hear my thoughts. LP also loves a challenge. So to get him excited about being creative I'll tell him to draw something in particular - like a Christmas scene that has to have a tree and some snow in it. He loves that because it allows him to have his own thoughts but he knows he has to follow some rules.

If LP isn't really in the mood for drawing I'll suggest he does some colouring and just lately this has been the thing that keeps him busiest the longest. I have sent him a few of my pictures and he colours them in - he loves it so much! A few days ago he spent at least 2 hours meticulously colouring in a picture and he even went on to add his own little drawing in the background. I was so happy.

Why be creative?

Being creative is SO important. It allows your mind to wander, you think about things you wouldn't ordinarily, and you get to release some energy. I don't know why but being creative let's you find that calm space in your head and just let go of everything else. 

Even for someone like LP who likes to be active and prefers logic and maths being creative is an outlet. He can draw and colour and let go of anything else. So even if you don't like to be creative, just colouring in could help you chill out.

Encouraging your kids to be creative too means they have quiet time, perhaps even time away from screens. It's a chance for them to think about fantasy and fiction and let their imaginations run wild. I have no doubt every child enjoys using their imagination. 

How does it help you?

When your kids sit down and start drawing/colouring/writing there's a chance they will get lost in the creation. It doesn't happen all the time but once or twice my boys have been so lost in the creations they haven't realised how much time they're spending on it. I have had more than 2 hours with 2 very quiet boys - that's 2 hours where I can sit, drink a hot coffee, even read sometimes.

Your kids will realise how much they enjoy being creative and may even go to school and tell their friends about it too. They will start to request creative time - like my two - and that means more time for you to enjoy a coffee. 

Creative thinking inspires ideas. Ideas inspire change. 

Barbara Januszkiewicz

Of course you can always get involved in the creation too. Like I've said I love being creative and just lately I've been engrossed in creating creatures. I have a monkey, a bear (who likes to dress as Disney characters), a fairy, and even a dragon! I'm currently getting them ready for halloween and I think they're quite excited about it!

A drawing by Morgan Prince of a dragon dressed as a mummy for halloween

When you encourage your kids to be creative, you let them know it's okay to use their imagination, but also you tell yourself it's okay to let go. It's okay to let your mind wander, and even if you don't write things down or draw, time not spent stressing over school runs and packed lunches does you good.

If you encourage your kids to be creative it can help you get time for yourself!

When was the last time you were creative?

If you enjoyed reading this post check out Why are our children so bored? Or if you're struggling with the day-to-day stuff check out 10 ways you can feel better in 10 minutes!

Do stop by Facebook or Twitter and let me know how your kids are being creative.

Keep your kids busy with these downloadable activity sheets so you can get some time for a hot coffee!