By Joanne Foster, EdD

As the new school year unfolds, the time is ripe to consider some important tips about creativity, productivity, and well-being so as to inspire parents and kids.

Please see these tips for fortifying kids’ capacities now, and throughout the school year.

1. Creativity develops over time, with the right kinds of learning opportunities, challenges, and supports.

People are at their most creative when they’re doing what they love to do. Help children
harness that enjoyment by finding their own niches and experiential pleasures, and
support them in following their interests as they change over time.

2. Resourcefulness furthers intellectual growth, and can spark inquisitiveness, reflection, and

Even a little resourcefulness can be the difference between complacency and ingenuity. Resources abound in different contexts, and through various kinds of experiences at school, home, in the community, online, and elsewhere. When kids are resourceful, what starts out as curiosity often evolves into strengths or qualities that they can develop, feel happy about, and share with others.

3. Co-create a comfort zone.

Seek a time and place where others are available to offer reinforcement and encouragement, where momentum can build, and where moving forward is a positive occurrence. This positivity could arise from maximizing effort, setting and attaining reasonable goals, being spontaneous (or, conversely taking time), making mistakes but learning from them, and
stretching boundaries.

4. Help kids understand that creativity requires time and commitment, but it’s worth it.

Creativity derives from what is original, meaningful, and effortful. Creative expression is something people choose to nurture – it’s an active decision – and this sometimes requires courage, determination, and conviction. Encourage kids to ask questions, get answers, think things through, be inventive, stay open-minded, and exercise patience. Parents can also talk about how their own accomplishments come about from investing creative energy.

5. Figure out what’s motivating.

Maybe it’s challenge. Flexibility. Reassurance. Creative expression. Choice. Fun. Familiar routines. Incentives. Feelings of pride about personal progress. Or finding enjoyment in learning and achieving. The possibilities are endless, and they’ll differ from one person to the next. If something is personally relevant (that is, it connects meaningfully with the child’s life, interests, or vision for the future), that relevance can be very motivating.

6. Consistency and routines matter.

Children function best when there’s stability and guidance, and this is especially the case during challenge or times of transition. Sometimes behaviors or circumstances change or get “rocked,” and this can be hard for kids to manage. Help them get back into a pattern or routine so they feel at ease, and less pressured. They’ll be more inclined to move forward, and to use their productive energy.

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