The Author in Your Child: How to Inspire Literary Creativity in Kids
Most habits that turn into lifelong skills are incorporated in children at an early age. This is not to say that playing the guitar is out of the question just because you are thirty, but it probably wouldn’t be a wrong statement to infer that by starting at thirty, your chances of being better than someone who started playing the guitar at six are pretty slim! Similarly, if you want your child to be a good writer, it is essential to incorporate that love of writing from an early age to maximize his/her abilities and usher in creativity. It doesn’t matter if the child grows up to be a lawyer, a doctor or an accountant, his/her writing skills will serve them well throughout life.
Encourage Your Child to Maintain a Private Diary
Children have amazing imaginative powers and while they may not yet possess the skills necessary to put that imagination onto paper (or a laptop screen), the ideas could already be there.
Encourage a child to keep a diary and tell him/her that it would be a private place for all of their thoughts. Even if they write just two words in the diary every day for the first few weeks, the habit will catch on, as their field of regular experience broadens. It’s a time-tested way to encourage writing in general. Depending on how talented your kid actually turns out to be, the diary could very well become a source for future novels or short stories.
Inspiring Literary Creativity in Children with Mathematics
It is understandable if you did not consider the fact that math can be a great way to usher literary creativity, but it is most certainly so! For those that are wondering how math can help anyone be a better writer, understand that mathematics is scientifically proven to be helpful in forming new neural pathways, which is precisely what gives way to creativity in the first place.
There is an article on the Thinkster Math Tutor website which highlights the signs that indicate when it is time to look for a math tutor for your child, and as one of the primary signs, they mention some children’s natural ability to perform better at mathematics than the rest of the class. If your own child is significantly better than his/her classmates in math, guiding their progress with a private tutor who can help to further the child’s skills can be beneficial for not just his/her performance in mathematics, but also in other subjects as well, which includes creative writing in particular.
Even if the child is disinterested in math or cannot keep up, an experienced math tutor can help him/her become interested in the subject again by making it fun. Once they start actively participating in problem-solving, you can rest assured that literary creativity, which you are trying to inspire in your child, will also start to flow better. If you have any doubts regarding this fact, read this piece from The New Yorker which goes to great lengths explaining the connection between the two.
A huge part of creativity in literature or expressive art, in general, is about recreating, reimagining, and rewriting things what we have seen, experienced, and read. Therefore, unless your child is reading good literature, there’s not enough knowledge in their brain to create content in the first place.
When they are still kids, this may not matter as much, but since reading is a habit that we pick up at an early age, it is important for them to start building the foundation for their developing brains, so that they can later put out those creative lines once they are old enough to do so.
Encourage their reading across all genres suitable for their age and do not limit them to children’s books only if you think they are more interested in advanced literature. After all, if the youngest writers in history such as the Guptara Twins or Mary Shelley are anything to go by, there is no age limit when it comes to natural creative genius.
Understand and Support Writing about the Subjects that Interests Them
This is where it gets tricky because your twelve-year-old daughter might be trying to recreate the Harry Potter universe in her own vision, while you might be more interested in molding her towards writing practical fiction! It’s a bad move because you cannot “mold” creativity. Support what it is that she is writing about and be happy with the fact that there is creativity in her. As she matures, she may become the next J.K. Rowling or create her own path in fantasy, but she won’t be able to do anything if you don’t let her try her skills in a path that she is trying to take naturally.
Encourage Quality Media Consumption
This might put a few parents off because smartphones, modern media, TV, etc., are all as infamous as they are popular. A lot of people are of the opinion that poor media consumption is ruining the minds of the next generation, and there might be some valid points there. However, what we are talking about here is quality media like acclaimed movies and TV series suitable for their age, which will give them more material to work with. Just like books, any form of quality media consumption broadens a child’s knowledge base beyond just the regular lives most of them lead.
When you are a writer yourself, it might be difficult to not be overbearing about your kid’s writing skills, but be careful not to make that mistake. Never force it on the child because the art of writing is one of those few things in the world that cannot really be expected to amount to anything unless it is original and happens naturally. Understand the difference between encouraging and forcing a child to write, and always maintain that fine line to inspire true creativity, as best as the child’s capabilities allow.