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Elvira Bonafacio

2018-10-09 18:20 — Belfast, Ireland

“Starring at the window”

Staring at the window? Boring, isn’t it?! Isn’t there anything else to do? Lauren Child, a well-known author of children’s books here in Ireland, supports this. She not only supports this but also stimulates parents to allow their children to feel bored. According to her, creativity is triggered by boredom

Lauren Child, Myra Zepf and Bruce Ingman, two authors
and an illustrator of children’s books, shared their thoughts about stimulating a child’s creativity (and reading) with the
public, at the Seamus Heaney Center for Poetry, which was also part of the cultural night in the city. The moderator of this panel discussion was Marie Louise Muir, a news anchor, and presenter at BBC Northern Ireland.
Sharing is caring they say. That’s why I am sharing some of these valuable tips, given during this informative night, with you, parents, teachers, educators, writers and the ones who just who like to write creative texts for pleasure.
  • Sometimes a writer can go days without doing anything or does a million things that have nothing to do with writing. Be aware that “doing nothing” is also part of the creative process. During this part of the process, the writer is gaining information for his/her next book.
  • For the writers among us, experiencing something helps much more than writing based on theories. For example, if you would like to write about mountain climbing, it’s best if you experience it for yourself, before writing about it.
  • Not all writers can write under pressure, not even if it’s commissioned by someone. Even the best writer needs his/her space in order to be creative
  • Teachers should be aware that the creative process is much more important than the final product. Stimulating the process makes it more attractive, fun and interesting for the child. As a teacher, it is important to apply this, even though class programs these days are focused on the end result.
  • Teachers are well aware of the evolution of technology, but there are certain things that technology cannot replace, for example, the learning foundation (basics). Therefore, give your child the foundation and grant him/her the space to learn on his/her own.
  • Failing is also an important part of the learning process.
  • Negative feedback, especially in art, can demotivate a child in such a way that he or she will never do it again. Art is linked to one’s emotion, therefore it is imperative to pay attention to what and how to give feedback to a child.
  • Children need their own space to explore. They need to figure out on their own what they like and dislike. They need to get to know who they are, before being imposed who they should be and how they should act.
  • Stop comparing your child to others, using social media. This can trigger inferiority. If you are on social media, for example, Instagram, follow people or topics that interest you and that can influence you positively.
  • Ted Talks give valuable advice (visit ted.com or look up Ted Talk on YouTube)
  • Books with illustrations, photonovels, and comic books are good when stimulate reading
  • Reading to others, young and old, is fascinating but it also stimulates reading
  • We have to keep in mind that both ourselves and our children have started reading using books with much more illustration than words. So do not rush a child into reading books with more text.  One has to evaluate if this is really necessary depending on the reading level.
  • When encouraging reading among children, non-fictional (informative) books, can be helpful to stimulate them to read. Therefore, it is important to involve the child in the process of choosing the themes/books he/she is interested in and let this be their stepping stone into the world of fiction. For example, if a child is interested in dinosaurs, read about dinosaurs together with the child. Start with short texts, followed by audiobooks (if you are unable to read to the child) with more text and so on until the child creates his/her own dragon story (fiction).
  • Illustrations can completely change the content of a book. In the world of authors, it can be both powerful and magical. Adding illustrations to a book changes the dimension of the book.
Last but not least, Lauren closed the night with the following: “Being bored is good! No phone, no Ipad, just do something! This stimulates creativity. We are too keen to please our children if compared to the previous generation. Being bored is also a way to let our kids explore and get to know themselves. We must trust that our children will make it, and stop putting so much pressure on ourselves because we are afraid that our kids are not happy …...”