Saturday, September 8, 2012

Hurray for Creativity

We all at one point or another feel over stimulated or overwhelmed.  Children today seem to be the bigger victims as they are naturally drawn towards overstimulation, whether it is in the use of modern technology, or an over-active schedule.  Parents have often complained to me that their child is "always bored".  Many of our children are unable to sustain an activity for too long, or more tragically, are unable to create their own play and stimulate themselves.  They are growing more and more dependent on technology, or on their parents creating activities for them.
As someone who is pro-planning and organization, I can sympathize with parents who have strict activity and play schedules for their children.  We do, however, need to be very careful not too overwhelm our children.

  • Try to provide time outdoors without a planned activity, or go swimming without the usual gadgets.  The use of sand and water is an excellent way to encourage imaginary play and creativity.
  • Indoors: Encourage your child to share his toys with his friends (and vice versa), and see how children can play differently and learn from each other.
  • Some children will whine and complaint, as we are all creatures of habit, so do become a role model and come up with creative games to play.  You can also ask your child to come up with his/her own game.  It also helps if there is more than one child playing (siblings, cousins or friends can join).

  • Use nature as an inspiration: you can use stones and rocks to make shapes and letters, go bird watching, or track insects and plants.  

  • Unstructured and free play time can be completely non-verbal, and as such is encouraging for children who are more introverted, or verbally less confident.  It can also be a great release for children who are more active.  
  • lastly, do not be afraid to let your child make a mess and get dirty every now and then. 
Anything cuter that this?

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