For this week’s blog post, I’m revisiting an important topic that we’ve discussed on the blog before—why creativity is important. 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 thought to be less important. But did you know that working the right “creative” brain has crazy benefits too?

Creativity 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. This helps build their ability to communicate clearly and concisely. My tip would be to ask them, as they create, why and how they make their choices in drawing a happy person instead of a sad one, or writing about it raining instead of sunny. The more they put thought into their creativity, the better their communication skills!

Creativity 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 storylines that reflect what they might be dealing with in their life. Whether they choose to write about a small kid battling giants, reflecting their own feelings of being bullied at school, or they draw a family portrait as you’re going through a divorce, working out emotions through creativity is the most productive way to process them. Bonus: Gaining the skill to work through their emotions through creativity is a benefit that will last all their life.

Creativity improves problem-solving skills. When your child wants to draw a picture a certain color, but doesn’t have that color crayon, he is forced to experiment to see what colors can mix together in order to create the desired color. Or maybe they write a story where their main character gets into trouble—as the author, your child has to figure out a way to get them out of it again. In this way, creativity actually helps your child with their mathematic skills, because their brain will be oriented toward problem-solving.

Creativity gives your child a taste of independence. When your child has a finished creative project 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, put in the time to create it, and 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 try steering them in a different direction. Instead, read their stories, hang them on the fridge, and know that your child is reaping all kinds of benefits from that imagination!