Cultivating Creativity in Children

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Watching little ones imagine gives me all the feely feels. Perhaps I’m biased because I’ve been an artist all my life (even if I’ve only admitted it recently)*.

Creativity is an essential life skill even if you believe in pure logic; it helps develop motor skills, hand-eye coordination, problem solving, and cognitive thinking. I feel like creative pursuits are encouraged early in life but then dismissed when sensible, adult-minds decide it’s about time to say; ‘get a real job.’


As a young girl my parents indulged my every creative whim; dance lessons, art, piano, oboe, acting, all of it. From these classes I learned self-discipline, patience, and determination. I also learned to deal with failure, when to let things go and how to work around unexpected problems.

Are these not all skills you need in any CEO?

When I wanted to study Studio Art at University my parents cringed. They encouraged/ insisted that I major in English too. You know, so I would have something to ‘fall back on’ when the whole Art career didn’t work out. I took the compromise and declared a double major spending extra hours in the studio or bringing art projects home so I could create between writing Shakespeare papers.


With graduation looming dinner conversations in our home usually began with “What do you want to do with your life?” and ended with me in tears, stomping off to my room so I could take online career aptitude tests (Internet, someone, anyone, please tell me what to be!) All I knew about ‘real jobs’ were that they sounded boring.

Careers today come with enormous pressure. In my parent’s generation a job was a means to an end, not an identity-entangled manifestation with which to define one’s whole life. It goes without saying we want to spare our children pain, failure, criticism, and a life of eating canned tuna. Now that I’m a mother, I understand why my parents couldn’t see the romance in my becoming a starving artist. My career wasn’t even invented black then so how can I blame my parents for worrying? (I’m happy to report that they are now hugely supportive.)

If there is one thing I learned from my experience it’s that I will support my children in their passions even if I don’t necessarily ‘get it.’ I found my way back to my path the hard way and it built character(or at least I hope it did). Career hopping, soul-searching, corny self-help books. The final influence came with the birth of my daughter, my inspiration. I wanted to be the example of what I planned to teach her about following her dreams. I decided to be brave enough to call myself an artist. Lucky for me, whether or not I’m a good one is completely irrelevant as long as it brings me joy.


Let me be completely honest with you, if my daughter came home and told me she wanted to become a beauty pageant contestant or Jehovahs Witness I would totally cringe (no offence-blame my preconceived notions). But after all, I’m not the driving force behind her journey, I am merely the bumpers in her bowling lane until she’s grown.

My rational brain knows these two important facts: 1.)That I cannot project my own dreams onto my little girl and 2.)That I must remember that she is only half me. Lavinia’s father is a passionate builder. They adore checking out cranes and playing with blocks and trucks together- there is totally a 50-50 chance she could be an analytical thinker like her Dad. Still, I can’t help my heart from swelling with pride when my daughter asks to ‘paint with Mommy.’

My husband asked me if I think our daughter genuinely shares our interests of if it’s because she is simply imitating us. I don’t know, but if I had to guess I would say it’s a combination of both. No matter what she gravitates toward in life I’m thrilled to see what she decides to embrace…Eeeeeeven if I have to occasionally remind myself to stand back and watch her to figure it out herself.



Dawn is an American wanderer at home in Australia. Searching for bliss and kangaroos among the everyday. Follow Dawn on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Subscribe to her Blog!

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