This last year I forgot how to keep my son curious.
Our days were so focused on homework, packed lunches, and catching our two trolleys. I answered many of his questions at the end of the day with an exasperated, ” I don’t know.”
It should be no surprise that a year of this led to a decrease in creativity.
As we begin Day 3 of our official summer break, I find myself trying to remold his creativity.
Right now he is comparable to a lump of dried out playdoh….hard to work with, crumbling and unchanging.
My goal is to add a bit of curiosity and watch him spring back to life and regain his “shape.”
I know this sounds dramatic after one year of kindergarten. But I have the comparison of my daughter, who stayed home with me, and my son, who went to public school.
My daughter disappears in their room and creates for hours. My son used to do the same, but now he looks to me for entertainment and constant approval. School taught him to seek praise for everything.
I believe in an appropriate amount of praise. I also have high expectations, so I will not praise expected behaviors.
Here are some strategies I am going to try to regain creativity:
We are doing another “no screen” month like we did in March, November, and last June.
This is my favorite way to kick off summer in Arizona.
We are inside more with the triple digit heat, so removing the screens helps us find other activities at home and motivates us to leave and go somewhere else.
Answer all Questions
When my son was very young (around two) someone suggested answering all his questions with real answers, using adult vocabulary.
For example: Son: “Mommy, why are they digging?” Me: “Those are excavators, and they are digging new foundations for that housing development.” Son: “What is foundation?”
You get the idea.
Talking to him as an adult led to great curiosity. It gave him confidence that I would answer his inquiries or find an answer.
Somewhere along the way I stopped doing this for both my children and became a broken record of, “I don’t know.”
I imagine this will be exhausting at times, but hopefully worth it!
I can tell my son wants more independence. There are times I stifle his creativity by restricting this independence.
We started the snack system I mentioned, where they choose their own food. So far I see great results! They love that they don’t have to ask permission.
My son also gets to check the mail and take out the trash alone, which he loves.
These are great starting steps, but I will continue to brainstorm more ways to safely give independence.
Although my son is the one needing the creativity boost, my daughter will also benefit from these strategies.
Seven and five are too young to lose wonder.
This will be the summer of creativity!!!