Creative Child

Designing an Environment to Foster Your Child's Creativity

by Rebecca Eanes


The Emotional Environment

As important as it is to have a physical environment conducive to creativity, it’s equally important to create the right emotional environment. This means fostering a home environment that encourages and values creativity and that minimizes criticisms and judgment of one’s creative endeavors. It’s easy to see how being critical of a child’s art work or performance can kill creativity, but even positive judgments can be harmful. When you praise the product instead of the effort, kids learn to place a value judgement on their work not based on their own likes and expressions but on what is pleasing to you. Therefore, their own creativity is stifled. In addition, some children may start to create purely for praise and not for their own enjoyment.

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For example, let’s say Annie’s teacher holds up her drawing to the class and says, “Everyone, look how beautiful Annie’s drawing of the garden is.” The other children then try to copy Annie’s picture to win that same kind of praise rather than using their own styles and ideas. Their creativity was hampered so they could copy the “worthy” drawing.

Instead, you might say something like:

  • “You’ve been working so hard on it and you finished!”
  • “I see you’ve mixed red and blue together here to make purple. What a great idea!”
  • “You put a lot of time and work into this. Look at how special it turned out.”
  • “This is really unique and totally you. I can tell you enjoyed creating it.”

Of course, another key element to creating a positive and creativity-boosting home environment is to enjoy being creative yourself. Let your children see you dance, sing, draw, paint, write, sew, or whatever it is that brings you joy. Children learn best by watching us, and they are always imitating what they see us do. Let them see us create with joy!

Rebecca Eanes is the bestselling author of multiple books including Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide, The Positive Parenting Workbook, and The Gift of a Happy Mother. She is the grateful mom of two boys. 


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