Creative Genius

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My child is creative. How can I encourage this trait?

Creative Genius

Creativity is one of the signatures of ADD children. Encourage them to think of different ways to accomplish a chore or complete an individual responsibility such as homework organization.

Write out a list of chores to be done. Separate the indoor chores from the outdoor chores. Allow your child to select one chore from both categories. Make eye contact with your child and explain how this chore needs to be accomplished. Be very specific. Set a timer as a way to manage the chores and check on the work as it is in progress. Let's say that the indoor chore is emptying the dishwasher. A child with a creative streak may surprise you by reordering the way objects fit into a space. An inventive mind sees or perhaps senses a different way of using objects and the ingenuity of some children is nothing short of amazing. Who knew that spilt milk is best cleaned up by the cat or a borrowed cat? Or that a drinking straw makes a wonderful support for tender plants? We can learn a lot from these clever children.

Let's say the outdoor chore is raking leaves. Leave it to a creative type to "share" the workload with others Tom Sawyer style. This combines not only completing a task but turning it into a social occasion as well.

It is hard not to laugh when a creative child comes up with a new way to do something routine, especially when they explain how they arrived at the end of the creative process, and humor is a wonderful tool. Just make sure that the child understand that your humor is evoked by the process and the child.

Another way to elicit creativity is to encourage your child to help you in the kitchen. There is something magical about stirring separate ingredients into a bowl and creating something good to eat. A fun kitchen chore would be to get your child to "doctor" up a bowl of plain popcorn. Some children do amazing well with this "creative" chore and the whole family gets to enjoy the results.

Another creative chore would involve organizing personal papers in the child's bookbag and room. The parent could paperclip play money onto a few of the scattered papers. As the child organizes the papers - one at the time, please - he or she will come across the play money. The play money represents a token economy and when the job is complete and "good enough," the play money can be exchanged for a special treat. The search for unexpected treasure can keep a child focused on the task at hand. Play money is but only one fun incentive. You could write out small phrases onto paper such as "Way to go!" or "Let me know when you have half finished - we'll have a snack together," these kinds of discovered affirmation go far in helping parent and child bond.

The element of surprise often works when other approaches do not. Give it a try. You may be delighted by the solution.



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