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In recent years many companies have stated creativity is a desired attribute in new applicants. Businesses have discovered it takes creativity to set themselves apart from the competition and they recognize the need for alternative solutions in an ever changing marketplace.

Christie Caudillo, a Talent Advisor for Mediware Information Systems, stated “Almost all our positions say they require creative and innovative thinkers, but this also attracts candidates who have been stuck in boring positions and want to work someplace where their ideas will be heard and valued. We conduct all interviews using the Behavioral Interviewing Method, which requires the candidate to talk about specific situations from their past work lives. It’s a struggle when a candidate cannot give a specific example.

Even when nudged, they only give general answers. At that point, I know that they are not the ideal candidate for our marketing department.”

Most of us know young children are creative by nature but it takes encouragement and commitment for a child to grow into a creative-minded adult. Too many times schools and parents structure individual creativity out of a child.

Experts agree there are actions parents can take which will encourage lasting creativity in children:

  • Praise original work and strive to give specific compliments. Such as, “You were clever to glue real grass for the bird’s nest on your drawing, it makes it seem three-dimensional.”
  • Let your child witness you exploring creative interests. Studies have shown children who have creative parents are more likely to be creative. Also, studies have shown children are more creative after watching someone else be creative.
  • Purchase open-ended toys, such as Legos, and art supplies, rather than pre-assembled kits. When choosing books for your child, consider books about inventors.
  • Let your child experience enough free time to get bored; unstructured time prompts creativity. Over parenting stifles creativity. Experts say many of today’s parents tend to over-schedule their children. Children need enough alone time to develop their own sense of self. Kids, like adults, need time to be alone with their own thoughts.
  • Set a good example for your child by valuing differing ideas and opinions. Teach your child there is more than one solution to most problems. Ask open-ended questions and encourage brainstorming.

 

Perhaps any cleverness my siblings and I have as adults we can credit to plenty of unstructured time during our childhood. It was then we conquered boredom by creating Lawrence Welk musicals for our grandparents and a clothing line for our Guinea pig. Keeping kids busy and learning with activities such as sports, camps, and clubs are assets in development, but enough downtime to think and create is also necessary for balanced growth.

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