It’s never too early to help kids establish healthy creative habits. Whether they’re your students or the kids in your family, it’s good to make their mental health a priority.
Much of what I’m sharing here has been inspired by habit and improvement expert, James Clear. You can find links below if you’d like to check out his writing yourself!
It’s interesting how these ideas first became popular with adults in mind but are equally relevant for kids. Imagine how helpful it would be for everyone to develop these healthy creative habits early on. I wish I had learned these lessons as a kid, but better late than never, right?
Here are 3 healthy creative habits for kids… and adults!
1. Create more than you consume.
So much of the technology we use today is designed to reel us in and keep us engaging with it. With enough repetition, this can create a consumer mindset that stifles creativity.
While it’s fine to enjoy and be inspired by the creativity we see online, it’s way too easy to fall victim to “over-consuming” it. Recognizing that the time we have is limited (kids included!) is the first step toward learning to protect that time.
We can help kids become aware of how much they are creating vs. consuming. Making a conscious effort to create more than they consume will help kids build a healthy relationship to technology.
2. Don’t compare yourself or your work with others.
This is another important habit for kids to learn early, so they can avoid struggling with it later as adults. Comparison can cause discouragement and hinder creativity at any age.
Explain to kids that comparing themselves or their work is never helpful. There will always be people who will rank higher or lower than you on any number of scales. So why bother?
When we see kids comparing themselves with others, we can encourage them to focus on their own objectives. This will leave them with room to grow and opportunities to celebrate their accomplishments along the way.
3. Finish things.
There are times when it’s appropriate to abandon a project… not everything we start has to be finished. But finishing should be the rule, not the exception.
Not finishing things can easily become a pattern for kids if we let it. When this happens, you might notice them also falling prey to perfectionism.
Perfectionism in turn becomes a breeding ground for procrastination. It’s a vicious cycle that’s hard to break out of… better to avoid starting down this path in the first place!
We can help kids adopt these healthy creative habits by praising them for these habits when we observe them. Soon kids will start to see themselves as having these qualities. And they’ll be on their way to having healthy creative habits that will serve them well throughout their lives.
The ideas I’ve shared here were inspired by the writing of James Clear. In addition to his bestselling book, “Atomic Habits”, he sends out an inspiring newsletter every Thursday. You can subscribe to his free weekly email here. Click here for links to all of his writings on creativity.
an inspiring quote:
“Contribute to the world around you. Create and share the brilliance that you have inside of you. Life is not meant to be spent solely consuming the things that others have made.” ~ James Clear
This is something I have to remind myself of nearly every day! I love to read books and to be inspired by the artists I follow on Instagram. Never before has there been such easy access to the creative work of others.
But it’s important that we also contribute our own voices to the world around us. You never know who needs to hear what you have to say or who might be inspired by something you create.
So encourage kids to keep creating, finishing, and sharing their work, without comparing it to others. We each have a unique gift inside of us that was meant to be shared, not compared!