So often in today’s education emphasis is put on science and math skills for children to work on and improve, pushing things like writing, art, and music to the side because they are labeled as “less important.” But Ol’ Sands knew when he started creating the Night Buddies stories with his son that allowing children to strengthen their right brain and explore their creative sides can actually benefit them just as much as learning science and math skills can! Here are the top four benefits children gain from being creative:
Helps develop communication skills. When you ask a child to draw a picture or write a story about a certain topic, they have to think about how to communicate a certain theme or message creatively. They have to truly understand their subject, make conscious choices, and be able to clearly justify their creative decisions. This helps build their ability to communicate clearly and concisely with the people they engage with. Give your child a prompt, or a specific task, such as “I want you to draw our family,” and ask them why they make the dog a bow, or why they put a big smile on your face and a frown on their sister’s face. When you engage with your child as he or she creates, you help build their communication skills exponentially.
Allows your child to work through emotions or anxieties they might not even truly understand. When your child writes a story, he or she will probably choose themes and story-lines that reflect what they might be dealing with in their life. Maybe they’ll choose to write about or draw a small kid battling giants, reflecting their own feelings of being bullied at school. Maybe your child is experiencing stress over your recent divorce, so they work through the pain on paper in a safe and productive way. Gaining the skill to work through their emotions through creativity is a benefit that will last all their life—there is a marked difference between adults who know how to manage their stress and ones who drown in it.
Improves problem-solving skills. When your child wants to draw a picture a certain color, let’s say pink, but doesn’t have that color crayon, he or she is forced to experiment to see what colors can mix together in order to create the desired color. Or maybe they write a story like Night Buddies—getting their main character into trouble leads them to the decision that, as the author, they also have to get their character out of that trouble. In this way, creativity actually helps your child with their mathematic skills, because their brain will be oriented toward problem-solving.
Gives your child a taste of independence and ownership. When your child has a finished drawing, painting, story, or poem in their hands, they are rewarded with the satisfaction of having created something entirely on their own. They made each decision that went into the piece, they put in the time to create it, and they get to own the satisfaction of seeing your smile as you praise their hard work. No matter if your child is the next great American novelist or Picasso, or not, as long as he or she put in effort and is proud of the final product, they have earned the right to feel proud of themselves.
So the next time your child is telling you all about their imaginary friend Crosley and showing you all they wrote down about their adventures, don’t laugh it off or worry too much about them (this is a technique used by John’s mother in the Night Buddies series). Instead, read their stories, hang them on the fridge, and know that your child is reaping all kinds of benefits from that overactive imagination!