Julia Cameron's book "The Artist's Way" has been a handbook for parents on how to raise creative children for 20 years. Alicia Keys, Steven Tyler and at least 4 million other parents have used it as their guide. Now, Cameron is releasing a new book, "The Artist's Way for Parents" meant to inspire parents to find their own creative spirits.
Everyone knows that mom who hosts crafting playdates or has special songs that actually get kids to clean up. But Cameron says she believes everyone is creative. "Many people are abashed in their creativity or were brought up to believe that they aren't creative, and then when they have children and want their children to be creative, they feel overwhelmed," Cameron tells us.
The book gives parents tools to overcome these feelings of inadequacy and offers plenty of easy everyday ways to be creative with your kids. "Right now we have a tendency to overbook our children," she warns. "We get the idea that they need tennis lessons, French lessons and music lessons and the poor little child would likes very much just to get to play."
Instead, Cameron stresses the importance of exposing children to a variety of activities in smaller ways. "You can take your child to a flower shop and pick out two or three flowers that are appealing to you. Or you can take your child to a bird store and expose them to what different kinds of birds are like. You can explore your immediate environment with adventures," she says.
It's through these everyday moments that parents will be able to discover what passions their young child has and then will know what sorts of activities to explore on a grander scale. Most importantly, Cameron says the activities you want to do with your child should be enticing and not sound like its a chore or something that needs to be crossed off a list. She says even the most video game loving child will be exited to make a mess, so go ahead and give them some acrylic paints to play with. "As parents, we sometimes want to be too neat, but it takes far less time to clean up a mess than we think it will," she says.
Cameron also thinks it's very important for every household to have a "creative corner" for kids - a place with items such as building blocks, paints, markers, crayons, clay and chalk. "Then, if you're child says 'I'm bored,' you can tell him or her to go try something in the creativity corner," she says. It's these small moments that truly fosters their inner creativity while giving them room to grow.
Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence