The people who succeed in tomorrow’s job market are the ones who are able to take the info available and color outside of the lines. Raising creative thinkers starts now.
How do we prepare our children to be successful in a world we cannot even imagine?
When I think about it, I keep coming back to this quote:
“Never memorize something that you can look up.”
― Albert Einstein
Information today is prevalent, almost overwhelming at times. Our children will reside in a world where knowledge is simply not enough to succeed. In tomorrow’s job market, the people who succeed are the ones who are able to take the information available and color outside the lines. Raising creative thinkers starts now, when our kids are young.
Below are seven small steps to help you start to raise a creative thinker:
1. Embrace everyday creativity. Does your child want to experiment and dip carrots in ketchup? Let them go for it. Does your little one love mismatched socks? Sure. Why not? In the moving article, “Dresses to the Beat of Her Own Drum” author Carey Pace recommends you ask these three questions when faced with a creative difference of opinion:
A: is this an issue of safety?
B: is this a character issue?
C: does this affect others negatively?
My daughter and I don’t always agree on clothing choices, but I keep these three questions in mind each morning. Another playful way to encourage creativity through self-expression is handmade jewelry. The girls love anything with beads, string, rubber bands, duck tape, material, or glue… so they were super excited to try this Make Your Own Indie Bangles Kit from Seedlings this week.
2. Focus on effort and experimentation, rather than results. Ask your child to tell you about their artwork instead of defaulting to “Nice drawing honey, good job.” Rather than focusing on the grade your child brings home on a test, praise their study habits or interest in the topic.
Look for opportunities in your everyday conversations.
Sometimes the indirect compliments are the most powerful!
While the girls were working on their Indie Bangles Kit, they decided to get out our button jar and add their own accoutrements to their bangles. When they showed their final piece to their dad, I made sure to subtly compliment their out-of-the-box thinking.
3. Ask questions. Lots and lots of questions. Ask questions to help them stretch their critical thinking AND to set an example for them to follow.
We started out our Let’s Rock! Geode Kit intending to “just” check out the cool crystals, but then the questions and experimentation started…
Should we try a bigger hammer?
What is on the inside of a normal rock?
Can we use your screw drivers?
What will happen if we soak the geode in vinegar?
Keep on encouraging those “what if” experiments and questions!
4. Teach your child to appreciate other people’s opinions. I constantly find myself telling my kids, “Everyone’s different. We all like different things.” Mention it when you talk about food, movies, sports, and even books. If they see the beauty in diversity, they will grow to be open-minded and accepting of different approaches and solutions.
5. Look for ways to tie seemingly unconnected lessons together. Help stretch the way your child thinks. For example, when we opened this Let’s Rock! Geode Kit from Seedling this weekend, I thought it would simply be a fun way to do a little geology research with the girls. I quickly realized that the kit also opened the door for a more important topic…
As they broke open rocks, we talked about the differences between external and internal beauty.
Help your child find unexpected parallels.
6. Perhaps most importantly, teach your child to embrace failure. We can do this by holding back instead of swooping in when our child makes a mistake. For example, let their block tower fall if it is built unevenly. Let your child lose at a game of checkers; instead of letting them win, find ways to compliment their thinking.
Through failure our children will find success.
Bonus Tip for Parents of Girls:
7. Your words can have a big impact. Because I have daughters, this stat really struck a chord…
According to the National Science Foundation: 66 percent of 4th grade girls say they like science and math, but only 18 percent of all college engineering majors are female.
This powerful video shows what little girls hear when you say they’re pretty. Instead, use your words to, “Encourage her love of science and technology, and inspire her to change the world.”
Do you have additional suggestions for inspiring creative thinking? Let’s chat in the comments.
Easy Go-to Resource
As we head into the holidays, I often find myself looking for a default gift suggestion for family. Something that is of good quality and within a certain price range. Something potentially educational, yet still playful enough that people *want* to give it. I think I’ve found my go-to resource. I simply adore Seedling and their products. I have nothing but glowing compliments.
This mission statement shines though in their quality and design …
Our joy comes in knowing that the person giving our kit will be just as excited as the kid receiving it.
As a Montessori mom, I firmly believe our children’s work environment and tools should be beautiful. More importantly though, all the products they offer help unlock creative thinking.
We are true believers that, given the right tools, opportunities and experiences, a child’s potential is unlimited.
I have two words for you, my friends: I agree.
P.S. A quick note about our sponsor: I am thrilled to be working with Seedling because their products and kits are not ‘paint by number’ but rather open-ended. They provide experiences that encourage children to think creatively, ask questions, and gain life skills. All and all, pretty darn cool.
Want an awesome gift for that special little person in your life? Shop the Seedling Website.
Disclosure of Material Connection: A quick thank you to Seedling for the three sample kits we received this month. My girls had a lovely time playing. We can’t wait to try out more! Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”