Engaging, teaching and motivating through your child's interests.
Many gifted and creative children seem to be naturally, if not obsessively, drawn to building and creating games like Legos and Minecraft. Both allow the child to adapt the activity to fill a particular interest and explore those interests as well as their own unique ideas and creativity in great depth. Whatever a child is interested in it most likely can be explored in new and exciting ways through building games. A lot of learning takes place when kids engage in learning through what interests them, but, where this is especially true is with highly creative or creatively-gifted children. It has been noted that most gifted kids do best when they have access to appropriate mental stimulation. However, while intellectually-gifted kids are often self motivated, naturally craving mental stimulation and open to learning about a variety of subjects - highly creative or creatively-gifted kids are often seen as lacking in self motivation or disinterested in school and learning in general. Luckily, there is a way to engage highly creative kids, and even get them excited about learning something new! The key to teaching or motivating creative kids - is through their interests.
Have you ever wondered why your creative child is only motivated when something interests them? Recent studies using brain imaging have shown that the minds of highly creative individuals respond differently to learning or when presented with new input or information. The scans of highly creative individuals have shown that their intellect does not open up, there is no movement, unless the information is presented to them through something of interest, something of personal importance, or is connected to something they already know. This is in stark contrast to non-creative individuals who's minds show immediate activity, or their intellect naturally opens up, when presented with new information. Yes, it may be possible for a highly creative individual to memorize for a time newly presented information that is not of interest, but with no natural awakening of intellect there is no connections being make, thus no real learning, and the natural enjoyment or excitement felt by most over learning something new is most likely also absent.
Consequently, it may be that those children who seem to be lacking in motivation or disinterested in learning - are in actuality just a different kind of learner. If this is true, then it is up to us as parents and educators to start teaching them in a different way, in the way their minds are naturally set up to learn - through their interests. When we channel teaching Science, say through a natural love of cooking, or present learning Math as a way to reach a child's own goal of gaining entry to an art college of their choice - creative kids can and will get excited about learning!
Creative building games like Legos and Minecraft, easily adaptable to a child's interests, can actually be great motivators and lead to exploration of new ideas and learning. Creative building games also fill another need often seen in both intellectually-gifted and creatively-gifted children - the need for choices and autonomy in learning. When we give them the opportunity; time and space to delve deeply into their interests, their own ideas and unique forms of creative expression, that's when the magic happens - when gifted and creative children not only engage and get excited about learning, but often move on to creating the new and improved, sometimes even inspirational and life changing invention!
Still, other factors may be involved. Inherent characteristics and needs related to giftedness, high sensitivity or high creativity, and each child's unique and inherent modality; communication and learning style - may also contribute to lack of motivation or other learning and behavioral issues. Many times strained parent/child relationships are due to the parent and child having different modalities, also known as communication and learning styles. If you are trying to communicate or teach your child in a way you understand but they do not, issues will arise. If you see the world in a certain way, but your child sees it differently, this can cause misunderstandings and division. Simple coaching assessments and a private and personalized proactive parenting coaching session can help you to identify and understand you and your child's modalities, and see how similarities and differences may affect your life, relationships and learning. Assessments and coaching can also help you to understand and better utilize your child's strengths, identify sensory and emotional sensitivities, learn how to be an emotional coach and teach needed coping skills, and help motivate and teach in a way your child will better respond to and understand - in a way that encourages self-motivation, self-esteem, emotional intelligence, family connection and cooperation.
Hugs & Happy Parenting,
Julie L Gibson-Vasquez The Proactive Parenting Coach