Overstimulation is hammocked in the backyard and imagination is cornered in the loft. The more over-stimulated today’s children are, the less creative they become, and the more hyperactive they become.
“Marta, how did you learn as a child, if Google didn’t exist?” This was the question that a six-year-old girl launched into my archaic ears. In an attempt to provide an answer, I began to tell him about the municipal library, the encyclopedias, the books on my father’s shelf, and the newscasts that were projected in movie theaters, before the movies started. I also told her about the children’s magazines with school supplies, but I couldn’t help but feel that it was all like speaking to her in Chinese, since this little girl – like your children surely – have received much more information than an adult fifty years ago.
Just a click away and in seconds, they can see the salty ocean of Ganymede: Jupiter’s largest natural satellite, cochlear implant surgery and the discovery of a mammoth bone in the mouth of a dog fossilized millions of years ago. The images explode into multi-colored data and allow children to have access to knowledge that the ancient sages did not even dare to dream of. Thanks to globalization, they can taste ice cream flavored with passion fruit and banana with dulce de leche; have access to left-handed scissors or pens made from reused kraft paper and newspaper, topped with a recycled steel tip.
Although the already almost unlimited access to information and the advancement of technologies have resulted in multiple advantages, it seems that the over stimulation to which our children are exposed, hammocks in the backyard while the imagination is cornered in the loft. The more overstimulated today’s children are, the less creative they become and the more hyperactive they become.
The effects of overstimulation on children’s learning
According to studies carried out by the research group “Neuroplasticity and Learning” at the University of Granada (UGR), coordinated by Milagros Gallo, overstimulation can affect learning. Ironic no?
The excess of stimuli generates in children – as in drug addicts – a level of “tolerance”, that is, there comes a time when the stimuli no longer generate the same satisfaction, so it is necessary to look for more. This could be one of the reasons why some children become hyperactive and cannot tolerate doing the same thing for a long time, as they get bored or distracted. It seems that then the demotivation to learn increases if the information they receive is not “stimulating”.
It is for this reason that children need times of boredom, so that it motivates them to use their body and mind. Believe it or not, boredom allows them to find their own motivations and give room for creativity. Let your children play as you or your grandmother did: provide sticks, sand, stones, mud, cardboard boxes; I assure you that they will make wonderful creations in minutes.
How to stimulate creativity in children
I share some ideas that could help you stimulate the creativity of your children:
Implement one hour of technological silence in your home a week, without any of these stimuli and where family conversation is the center. Perhaps outdoor activities such as recognizing the sounds of nature can be a good reason to meditate and pray. Invite them to smell, feel and appreciate the ranges of colors, textures and aromas that surround them.
Generate one hour a week of real free time, without internet, without television and without audio, ensure that your children have an unstructured time, where creativity is the host. If you want to know more about how to develop creativity, read this article: The development of creativity: training geniuses at home.
Be mindful of their own maturation rate, don’t give them more information than they can process.
readDon’t run before you walk.
Closely supervise the cartoon series they usually watch, sit down and watch them with them, you may be surprised to see how in a few minutes you are stunned by sounds and images, generating in you a state of anxiety.
It encourages the reading of plays, legends and other types of reading that allow the imagination to develop.
At bedtime, keep mobile phones, digital tablets, and computers out of bed. Sleep is still a healthy brain’s best friend.
Do not expose your children to future emotional or learning problems, stimulate them without saturating them and you will see how their creativity and imagination grow.