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How to Foster Children’s Creativity

When I grew up, it was a different world. Even living in a big city, the pace was slower; only a few cars were parked by the sidewalk. Computers were still big chunky machines sitting only in the most modern offices. And I’m talking not more than forty years ago. Since then, the world has begun to move fast; the digital revolution has completely changed how we experience the world; the same streets, once quiet and welcoming, became noisy, crowded, and dangerous.

 

Today, children are always “bombarded” by TV, use the computer extensively, and somehow are affected by this hectic world. It’s not about being nostalgic. There were things back then, which weren’t entirely right, too. I’m saying that too many external inputs may somehow naturally reduce the room for creativity. Children not only need to learn and play, but they have to find their way of doing it. I’d like to share some thoughts about strategies that, as a parent, can be easily used to foster kids’ creativity.

 

Treasure Their Lateral Thinking

Have you ever been surprised or amused by how your child has solved a small problem or issue using his/her creativity? One day, I was in the kitchen, preparing a complicated recipe that needed the use of various appliances, such as the planetary mixer and the meat grinder.

 

My little boy walked in and asked me what I was doing. I simply answered that I was using kitchen robots to help me out with my recipe. When he heard the word “robot,” he stared at me and asked if he could play with those funny shaped, noisy machines sitting on the kitchen bench. I had to say no because that would not only have wholly disrupted my home-made lunch endeavors, but it was dangerous for him, too.

 

He was disappointed, indeed. After a few seconds, his eyes lit up, and he ran towards the kitchen cabinet, brought out some small pots and pans, a couple of wooden spoons, a small colander, and a funny shaped lid. He arranged all the items on the table, creating the shape of a strange humanoid. “Don’t worry, Mom,” he said, “I’ve got my own kitchen robot now.”

 

Without using too many fancy words, this is precisely what lateral thinking is about. It’s the innate skill of solving a problem by looking at it from an entirely new perspective. Kids have this ability, but they tend to lose it when they grow up because the world (educational programs and culture) tend to present them with the solutions to most of their problems. Instead, it’s a skill that should be treasured because it’s essential when facing unexpected challenges in our lives.

 

Lateral thinking can be fostered by challenging the children’s mind asking them to solve their own problems, within limits, of course. “How would you fix this?”, “Is there a way to do this differently?” Those are the questions to ask.

 

Get Them Interested in the World

As adults, we tend to be interested only in certain things. We have our jobs, hobbies, and friends. We have our habits and routines; we have built our personal tastes and discrimination strategies. Kids are beautifully open to the world. They do not have our filters, prejudice, and bias.

 

I don’t have to take them on a hiking trip in Kathmandu or diving on an exotic coral reef to have exciting experiences with them. Even the most ordinary trip to the supermarket can be mind-opening. The secret is to learn how to communicate. There’s a difference between talking and telling.

 

All it takes is a little bit of patience, but, at the end of the day, I’m having as much fun as they are. When we are out, we may talk about a tree we see outside, an insect we find in the bushes, a particular brand of cereal, where this delicious food comes from, about a car model, or about people we meet. The simplest thing can be a great conversation starter. Kids love to learn, have answers to their questions, and know how the world is organized and works. My dream is that they will keep the same interest when they grow up; it’s the key to a fulfilling life.

What You Need to Teach Your Kids

Every parent wants to see their kids succeed, and some go to great lengths to ensure that they prepare the kids for the future. Whether it is taking kids to good schools, engaging them, or walking the talk, you can impart some life skills to your kids in many ways.

 

Unfortunately, I had to learn most things that I know today by myself while growing in a foster home. My early experiences in life might not have been ideal for a young kid, but luckily, I could beat my path. I believed my dedication to soccer and fitness played a crucial role in achieving success in life.

 

Fast forward, I can now use my experiences to impart some noteworthy life lessons to my kids. As I try to be that parent that I never had, I have had my struggles and a fair share of experiences. My two kids, Juliana and Graham, are now grown. Looking back, here are some essential lessons that I believe were instrumental in helping me nurture these responsible young adults.

 

The Value of Honesty

The best way to instill honesty in your kids is to live an honest life. Looking at my dark past growing in a foster home, I was lucky enough to get a wife who went to great lengths to teach me how to live an honest life. I now love everything about honesty and the joy of spending life around an open family. Well aware that kids take cues from parents, we had to refrain from any dishonest behavior. Also, we had to reward them occasionally for their virtuous deeds. In case we noted some signs of dishonesty, we had to encourage them to own up their wrongs and explain the consequences of lying.

 

The Essence of Being Respectful

Respect is fundamental to a child’s development. Respect for elders, authority, other people, and most importantly, respect for oneself is vital to becoming a responsible adult. Training your kids to be respectable cultivates a feeling of self-worth and respect for others. It also goes a long way in helping your kids co-exist and accept everyone for who they are, irrespective of their caste, religion, or creed. Any sign of disrespect should be addressed immediately. At times, spend some time talking to your kids about the value of respect and the consequences of disrespect. There are several essential qualities such as obedience, self-control, kindness, and cleanliness that follow when your kid can demonstrate basic human respect.

 

The Importance of Time Management

I love working with anyone who can keep time. Looking at the gains that come with effective time management, I knew that I had to raise kids who could manage their time well and meet deadlines. And whenever I got a chance to help them learn how to manage time, I was glad to grab it. Parents should teach the value of time management to their children when they are still young. This means coaching them on simple time management skills practices such as prioritizing, planning well, and keeping time. The best time to impart this skill to any child is when they are old enough to understand what it means to save time and honor deadlines.

 

The Weight of Being Responsible

Parents who want the best for their kids should not compromise on responsibility. Your kids will undoubtedly benefit from learning to be responsible. As far as cultivating responsibility goes, I always advise parents to model responsible behavior. This means that you do not have to keep instructing them on how to be accountable. Instead, show them by walking the talk. Cultivating responsibility goes a long way in helping kids develop a healthy attitude and pride in everything they do.

 

I now understand that learning is a lifelong process that requires serious efforts from both parents and the kids. As a parent, you have to keep encouraging your kids along the way without losing motivation, even after they are past the age of majority. To achieve success in the parenting journey, then you should be it in the long haul. It is easy to lose touch with your kids when you have to attend to professional demands. You should be wary of all manner of demands that might compromise your parental obligations to find a way of giving your kids the best.

Home-Based Activities to Do With Kids

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the renewed restrictions, we cannot take our children out to the park or to their friend’s house to play. We cannot invite friends over because we have to maintain social distancing. Some countries are still under lockdown, which means that our children are home throughout the day. The kids have online classes that keep them busy, but they have a lot of free time because they are at home. Below is a list of some of the things we can do with our children that will keep them busy and at the same time enjoy the activities.

Make Mathematics Fun

We should try and engage our children when preparing meals for the family. This is the best time to indulge in mathematics activities because they get to know different measurements, recognize different shapes, improve their estimating skills, and make comparisons. In short, it will be a practical learning experience for the kids, and we can all have a good time as well as a great meal. I always ask my kids to help in kitchen activities such as measuring and counting using cups and spoons. Kids can also count and estimate how many utensils will be needed when laying out the table for lunch or dinner. Let us teach the kids different shapes and colors using our cutlery.

Read More Books

These days, we give our children mobile phones or video games to keep them busy. Many children are not interested in reading books. We should always read out texts more often for our children if we want them to develop a reading culture. We can read out different stories and explain to them words they do not understand. Make it more fun by giving them a small quiz at the end of a chapter or reading session to monitor if the kids have understood what has been taught to them. Encourage the kids to tell us a story daily and use different creativity.

Play Board Games

There are many board games that we can play with our children. These include snakes and ladders, checkers, chess, and Monopoly, which is an exciting game for children. This game teaches the kids how to manage money, which estate is worth investing in, and paying bills and fines. Moreover, these games keep us occupied, and we have a great time with the family.

Discover Family History

With the development of so many sites such as Genealogy Bank, it is now easier than ever to look up your family history. Kids love to discover if they are descended from royalty or if there is anyone famous in their tree. You can combine this activity with creating a physical family tree as part of a craft project. Other activities like this might include looking up your last name origin or even searching through Newspaper archives for fun stories about your relatives.

Encourage Out-Door Activities

Many children these days do not like to play outside. Most kids are interested in playing on mobile phones or video games. This isn’t good for a child in the growing stage of life. We should try getting tricycles for kids and teach them how to ride, play different games such as hop-scotch, or even consider treasure hunt games. We should also play other sports such as badminton or football with the kids. If we have a small inflatable swimming pool, we can teach them to swim. These activities keep the brain active, and by the end of the day, the kids are tired and will definitely have a good night’s sleep. Of course, some children might enjoy gardening too, so make sure to try that. For flowers to grow properly, you’ll need to make sure that there are no pests in your garden that could ruin them. One way of doing this is to look for any signs of destruction in other plants around your garden. If there is some damage, it might be worth visiting https://www.pestcontrolexperts.com/pest-control/ to see if their services could help. Hopefully, by exterminating the pests, the flowers will be able to grow properly.

Try Different Crafts

Arts and crafts can be exciting and so much fun. Let us encourage our children to draw, color and paint. The pictures do not need to be perfect, and with time we will notice an improvement. We should let the kids paint and color freely and teach them to do it in one direction so that the crafts work looks neat. Trust me; this can be therapeutic for children and adults. We can also make different crafts with the children. We should always encourage the kids for a well-done job through gifts and appreciation when work is done neatly. Supplies can be bought online if you don’t want to go out to get them, and there may even be savings to be had with eBay coupons from sites like Raise.

Try Different DIY Hacks and Tricks

We have many items at home that we do not use. Make use of them by creating something new. YouTube has many videos that show us how to re-use clutter. For example, we can make coasters out of old CDs, or make a small garden using plastic bottles, among many more activities.

These activities will keep our children active and limit their time watching TV or playing games on mobile phones. They will help the kids learn and grow in different ways, and it is also a great way to have a good family time.

How to Organize the Perfect Holiday with the Kids

What is a family holiday, if not the perfect occasion to spend some quality time together with your kids? Whenever I have some time off work, I always plan something interesting to do. Unfortunately, it’s hard to have more than a week off without severe repercussions for my professional activity.

 

Even so, seven days are more than enough to have a fantastic, unforgettable holiday. When I talk about this to my friends, the comment I usually get is, “How can you do that? A week is too short; you’ll only stress yourself out!” Nothing can be further than the truth. In fact, some of the most enjoyable moments I spent with my kids were on short vacations during long weekends.

 

Nevertheless, as it always happens with parenting strategies, there are a few tips and tricks to be put into practice to avoid ending up, at the end of the holiday, more exhausted than relaxed.

 

Respect the Childen’s Timings

When vacationing with my kids, I enjoy traveling in our car. It’s far better than the train, or even the plane because it allows us to fully manage our travel schedule. One of the most important things to consider is taking the necessary breaks; it’s crucial to keep the crew’s morale up. Instead of thinking about getting to a particular place at lightning speed, I treat the road and the trip as a destination in itself.

 

When planning the holiday, I search on the map for lovely, exciting places we can visit on our way. It could be a park, a small town, or even a country restaurant. Kids love to see new places, so it doesn’t matter if you take them to Niagara Falls or to a little pond where they can feed the ducks. Actually, the second option would probably keep them entertained for a much more extended period!

 

If they are tired of being in the car, I don’t force them. I prefer to anticipate their needs, and I usually stop at gas stations along the road, where they can have a bit of a walk, stretch their legs and get some fresh air.

 

Share the Magic of New Experiences

Children are young but not naive. They can correctly understand your comments and remarks about the places you see, whether it’s the British Museum or a souvenir shop. Also, sharing ideas and thoughts with them is an opportunity I don’t really want to miss. They can see things from a different and surprising point of view.

 

Under my guidance, they can understand what they are experiencing, creating memories. They can pick up so much more than you think. When we went to Rome, my five-year-old boy stood in front of a magnificent statue of Moses. I saw he was really impressed, so we started talking about marble statues, about Michelangelo, about how old the figure was and who was depicted. Now that he’s ten, he still remembers it and sometimes uses the statue as a benchmark to measure other things: “that’s as big as Moses.”

 

Never Lie to Children

If I cannot meet their expectation, I simply don’t promise them I will. I’ve learned this by experience. One day, we were on the road to a friendly little ski resort. I knew we were going to drive by an amusement park along the way. So I said to them we were going to have a lot of fun on the roller coaster and on the carousel. Unfortunately, when we got there, we found that the park was closed for the low season. It was a big let down.

 

That’s why, apart from checking the opening times of amusement parks, I’ve learned that deception is a big drawback for children, especially when they are so looking forward to something. That’s why I keep expectations low. One day we have decided to take a short trip to the local beach. It was a beautiful day, but it was still early spring. So I said: “We are going to play with the sand, but I’m not sure if we will be able to bathe as it may be freezing cold.” Fewer expectations may lead to pleasant surprises. The water was just perfect.

Fun Family Activities During the Pandemic

The parks are not as open as they used to be because of the lockdowns and stay-at-home orders. What else is there for entertainment and fun? I think it is time we looked elsewhere and perhaps became a little more innovative.

I found myself worried that my kids are beginning to get bored with staying at home. I am certain I cannot be the only one noticing the mood within my household suddenly changing as everyone gets dull with limited outdoor activities through which we used to bond?

Cabin fever is becoming common, and I think I found several ways to beat it – these are ways that could help anyone in the same situation. For the last one year, I have devised ways of having fun within my household; I have been able to engage the kids and my wife for a wholesome and fun-filled family experience. And then, once the kids have gone to bed, it’s our turn to relax. I know friends who play online casino games, and I’ve been meaning to share this article about how to increase your casino odds with them for a while now. It does look like a pretty good way to de-stress, so maybe I’ll start playing too.

Play Board Games

I find board games an excellent way to liven the mood whenever I am stuck in the house. The competitive nature of board games, even with nothing material at stake, is what makes board games interesting. The kids will want bragging rights and to feel the pride of winning over their siblings or parents. Common board games that I brought to the house include chess, scrabble, snakes and ladders, and monopoly.

There are many kinds of these games out there while it is also possible to become innovative and create a game of such kind at home using simple materials. In fact, instead of playing chess, my eldest child has created a board game similar to chess but drawn on a box cutting and played using bottle tops. And, on the off chance that you start to get bored with these board games, then switch it up and play some video games instead. Or, you could just let your older kids have mini gaming tournaments while you watch. Consider setting up a console and a gaming TV (options for which can be found on Vizio – https://www.vizio.com/en/gaming – and its likes) in the den, and blow the roof off with some fun frenzy!

Play Cards

I also have a deck of cards in the house that we use to play several simple card games. One exciting thing about cards is that they offer the opportunity to play different kinds of game set-ups even with small children as long as they can tell numbers and letters. Like board games, a deck of cards can give an entire evening of fun.

Try your hands at indoor Golf

Golfing indoors isn’t a new concept. The benefit of indoor golf is that you can fine-tune your movements and receive real-time feedback on how you’re hitting the ball. Indoor coaching and lessons will also help you replicate your outdoor performance. There are many benefits to playing golf indoors, including improving your game and playing all year. For the children, it can help them to be friends with you easily over a golf match. Generally speaking, golf can be played at a slow pace, which makes it easy to converse while playing. You can create memories, build lasting friendships, and bond over them. Moreover, golf teams are great for forming close bonds among kids and creating lifelong relationships. However, for playing the sports inside the house, you would need to have the necessary tools and gadgets like golf balls, nets (you can visit this website to buy golf nets), putters, simulators, and launch monitors.

Watch Old Family Movies

Recently I was browsing through my DVD collection and found old movies from the Home Alone series. These are films I used to watch twenty years ago when I was ten years old or so. My kids had never seen these films. I decided to start watching these old family films with the family and having movie nights with the family. Of course, I have to make sure they are PG-rated and age-appropriate.

Watching entertaining family movies together is a great way to kill time and keep everyone entertained; the kids of today love to see what we used to see back then during our times. Besides that, there is a lot of family-oriented content both on cable TV as well as streaming apps nowadays, so you could think about spending some quality time watching kids’ movies or shows if they do want to watch something else for a bit. Look through shentel cable packages or other similar packages that can provide you with an Internet connection as well as TV options. This should keep you and your kids entertained for quite a while!

Solve Puzzles and Conduct Experiments

I am probably one of the people whose children do not like to engage in anything academic or mentally strenuous outside of school. I don’t complain much; I used to be that kid too. But when we solve puzzles or do experiments together using simple materials from the house or puzzles found online, I find the children to be more engaged. This is not only a way for them to have fun but also a means of blending fun and learning; challenge their minds, and sharpen critical thinking.

Cook Together

If one thing changed for many households, it is the fact that people suddenly started spending more time together at home than they did before. Before the pandemic, I could not remember the last time we cooked together as a family, or even with my wife. Many families only do so on special occasions.

Fire up that grill in your backyard or on your balcony and have a barbecue. Cook nice meals together- the meals you know your kids and the whole family love and enjoy. Nothing warms people’s hearts more than good food. Bring the fun you go to seek out there into your house and to your home.

Lastly, live, love, and laugh! Do not let anything take away the fun from your household. Let there never be a dull moment. Such activities make us bond more and promote a healthy family and a happy home.