Parenting: The importance of imagination

November 1, 2011

As a parent it's nice to see that he hasn't totally forgotten how to use his imagination during these high-tech times. As more new gadgets, devices and video games hit the market and infiltrate our homes, it's important to make sure our children don't forget the most essential element of childhood - using their imagination and creativity.

Experts say when children are sitting at the computer, watching TV or playing a video game, they are passive participants being fed someone else's stories, instead of creating their own. That's why parents can and should play a big role in feeding a child's imagination - especially during their pre-teen years. We can create an environment at home that can enhance and cultivate a youngster's creativity.

In my home, there are times when my child will proclaim "I'm bored!" which seems impossible. But for me that's a signal that he needs to put his imagination to work.

Here are a few suggestions I've picked up from other parents and even teachers on how to jump-start a child's imagination:

1. Read fairy tales - or any book that will expand their imaginations. Harry Potter is pretty big in my house.

2. Draw pictures

3. Create things together, like an arts and craft project or a painting

Of course these are only suggestions. Parents shouldn't totally be responsible for rescuing a child from boredom. In fact some experts say there should be times each day or each week when he or she has nothing to do. If every minute of their time is programmed, then they become totally dependent on us for ideas and opportunities for creative expression.

Let them find their own way to fill their time and be imaginative.

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