Highlands Blog

6 Ways to Give Your Child Creative Space

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Posted in Highlands Blog under Family, Parenting

young boy as aviator. (Giving Your Children Space)

Individuality in Your Children

In the beginning God created a vast universe of colorful planets and stars floating and spinning (or just floating but sometimes falling) in a sea of exquisite blackness.

Then He made adult human beings and gave them all that space to enjoy, play in, shape, cultivate, and care for. We were made for this enterprise. That means that our children were made for this too.

Children will claim space naturally. Before you know it, they have pinned something to the wall in their bedroom or have staked out a shelf in your garage. They will arrange, gather, and collect, intuitively on their own and also by imitating you.

Even at the earliest age this is cute, with smiles all around. But it should also be anticipated with prudence. After all, you’ve got a junior Adam or Eve on your hands. This individuality needs to be cultivated instead of letting their budding identity get lost in the family collective.

So as this inherent creativity manifests itself in everything from rock collections to posted abstracts in crayon, we should see this as a rich opportunity to study our child’s emerging personality and values.

Here are a few suggestions for giving your children creative space:

1. Give their space recognition.

This is a conditional ownership conveyed by the parents and therefore should honored by all others—including the parents. Shared space is natural but personal space is sacred. Everyone enters personal space only by invitation.

2. Teach them responsibility

Space is more than a privilege, it is also a big responsibility. Give them a vision of the scope of their small space by talking to them about how their shelf or toolbox or bedroom door is just the beginning of their life as a steward of all the material gifts that God will be giving them.

3. Train up a child in the way they should go

Parents are usually ecstatic when their youngster starts their own cookbook shelf or tool collection just like Mommy or Daddy. But sometimes there are clues of other influences or of emerging personality. Instead of recipes the girl is into stamps and the boy has chosen a microscope over a hammer. All of which is fine and could be a sign of passing interest or perhaps the early stage of a vocation. You should be able to discover much to encourage them here.

4. Stay engaged in their interests

It’s easy when their interests are the same as your own but when they are into things that are radically different than yours, you should stay just as engaged. “Look on the interests of others” the apostle Paul said to the church in Rome. Be very careful that your children never feel insignificant because of what they like.

5. Give them direction

Since everything can be used for good or for evil, teach your children to do everything to the glory of God and help them figure out what that means. How does a box of a thousand bottle caps or a shelf full of card games and books translate into, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all to the glory of God”? This is an early teaching opportunity that will have significance all the days of their life.

6. Be discerning

Personal space can be where the individual can meet with God. Help your child to understand that when they are tuning out everything and everyone else because they are so ‘in to’ what they are doing, that God is always there and their enjoyment in what they are doing was designed by Him, that He is the gracious source of all satisfaction and fulfillment.

There is still a lot more for us to consider regarding our children’s personal space. But the takeaway here is that it is inevitable that they will have such a desire because that is how God has designed all of us. As parents, we should see that this is no small thing. Quite frankly, it is as big as the universe.


Have you found ways to encourage the creativity and interests of your children? Share your ideas in the comments below.

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