little girl painting
by Kimberly Rodgers
Creativity is critical to a child’s brain development. It allows children to learn about and explore themselves and the world. Children are naturally creative; babies are often just as fascinated, if not more so by environmental and interpersonal stimuli, such as a light bulb, fan, flower, necklace, mother’s hand, even a toilet paper roll, as they are with a store bought toy.
In addition to balancing structure, healthy discipline, communication, and family bonding time, we recommend that parents also prioritize opportunities for creative expression. This is even more important as the school day allows for less free time, shorter recess and lunch periods, and more focus is on standardized tests rather than creative learning opportunities.
Even outside of school, children are consumed by video games and the computer or involved in structured activities and sports. Activities such as gymnastics, soccer, dance, etc. do help children learn how to be a team player, build self-esteem, and allow for healthy physical activity, but structured activities need to be balanced with free play to allow for their creativity to expand.
As pediatrician and psychoanalyst D.W. Winnicott explained: “It is in the playing and only in playing that the individual child or adult is able to be creative and to use the whole personality, it is only in being creative that the individual discovers Self.” This includes non-structured play and creative projects using media such as art supplies, play-doh, clay, even baking.
If parents role model healthy creative expression, children will be more likely to expand their own creative energy. Families could paint a picture together, bake a cake together, splash in the water together at the beach, or create a unique family game together. Helping children tap into their creativity allows them to learn, explore, grow, and have fun.
Monarch Therapy, LLC, is a holistic therapy center focused on empowering children, families, and adults through emotional and behavioral services. The center offers counseling (including play therapy, EMDR, couples therapy, and counseling in Spanish), parent support, and holistic healing including children’s and family yoga, transformational breath®, massage therapy, acupuncture, and energy healing.
Kimberly Rodgers, LCSW, RPT-S is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Registered Play Therapist Supervisor as well as Editor in Chief of eFitFamily.com, a website providing health related information and inspiration for families. Call (239) 325-9210 for more information or visit online at www.MonarchTherapy.com.