I’ve never met someone as naturally creative as any four year old child at the playground. Just about any preschooler can take a pile of dirt and turn it into a desert island, mud pie restaurant, and a mountain fit for a king all in the course of an hour.
Sometimes as an adult, it’s fun to see that creativity and ruin it by stomping all over their mud mountain and declaring it a plain ol’ pile of dirt. We’ve got to get them prepared for the real world, right?
No, I don’t really think you do that Truth be told, I’m not really a dirt pile smasher either.
Actually, I am completely jealous of the incredible ingenuity produced by little minds less than half of a decade old. But sometimes, I can get so excited about helping my preschooler’s imagination along that I can really cramp her style by accident.
If you want to keep that spark alive, avoid these 5 most common ways we can kill our child’s creativity without even realizing it.
1. Insisting on a Spotless Home
My son once decorated my living room carpet with maple syrup. Although his inspiring abstract art stuck with us a long, long, (long) time, this is not the extreme I need you to allow.
Rules such as no food in the living room are great boundaries, but I’m talking about the less damaging times, such as being afraid to allow blanket forts because it means a few unmade beds.
When your preschooler asks to build a fort, he isn’t just looking to cause chaos to the living room; he’s creating a whole new world-within-a-world.
He’s demonstrating the most basic of engineering skills and making connections between the real world and the one in his imagination. He’s solving problems, getting some exercise, and building confidence when his structure turns out just right.
Plus, in the midst of all that hard work, he’s also likely busy slaying dragons or warding off zombies to protect your humble abode, so really, he deserves a thank you.
A spotless house is nice, sure. But if an imaginative dragon slayer is going to get the job done, he deserves a bit of battle room.