Being able to think outside the box is a skill that comes with many benefits. From work to personal relationships, the ability to think creatively and solve problems can make a difference in the life of your children, setting them apart and paving the way for future success.
More than a tool to use only in specific situations, creative thinking is a permanent attitude. From using open-ended questions to being flexible and rewarding creativity, this strategies will help you foster this invaluable mindset in your children.
Ask Open-Ended Questions
The use of open-ended questions is a centuries-old technique to stimulate creative thinking. While closed-ended questions can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no”, open-ended questions require more thought. The most common open question is “Why?” Teaching your children to ask themselves why things are done a certain way is a solid base to develop out-of-the-box thinking. Other examples of open-ended questions are:
- What character makes you laugh the most?
- What sounds/flavors/ colors do you like?
- If you were alone on a island what objects would you like to have?
- What made you decide to pick this toy/book/movie/song?
Be Flexible and Encourage Exploration
A children’s ability to think creatively is often a reflection of their parents’ attitude. Therefore, expect creative thinking and take part in discussions based on open-ended questions at home. Allow your children to explore possible answers and discuss with them what are the most adequate alternatives to solve real or hypothetical problems.
Foster the Right Mindset
Creative thinking isn’t a talent that you either have or don’t. On the contrary, creative thinking is an ability your children can master with with practice. Help them assimilate the latter notion. Make sure they understand that they can become effective creative thinkers if they put their minds to it. This is a growth mindset and it’s a key component in the acquisition and development of any skill.
Reward Your Children When They Think Outside the Box
As is often the case with children, the most effective way to bolster creative thinking is rewarding it. When your children think out of the box, notice it and praise their efforts. If you identify instances of creative thinking while they play, join in the fun and comment the thinking process with them. Creative thinking can become the norm if it’s expected and rewarded consistently.