More and more, I hear grandparents’ concern that their grandchildren spend too much time on computers or their phones. My husband heard on the radio that because of covid and the lockdowns, kids have increased their time on devices from two hours a year ago to seven hours now. What is happening to our children? We worry. Are they getting enough fresh air and exercise? Can they think for themselves, or are they learning ways to think we may disapprove? Have they lost creativity and imaginations that lead to dreams for a brighter future for themselves and the world? What can we do that isn’t interfering?

Cultivating a child’s creativity can reap rich, long-term rewards. Studies show that inspiring children to be creative helps them be more successful in life as adults. For example, on a job, creativity helps to discover better ways of doing a job, starting a business, or inspiring others.

Gifted kids can be precocious. Some can learn a second language before they’re five or play Mozart by seven, and we think they will change the world. But, sadly, global transformation rarely follows. High IQs and the ability to throw out facts learned, but never creatively assimilated, are not helpful. Points are great if they inspire a level of understanding that inspires others. Otherwise, facts are just cold facts. So, what can we do as grandparents so that our grandchildren will be inspired and inspire their peers?

No matter how the world changes, kids need love. It may feel awkward to them at first, but sitting with a child and holding them fosters relationships and security. Discussing even the simplest books generates creativity. Helping them explore the possibilities in the story encourages creativity.

Consider talking with your grandchildren and discover their interests and give them the freedom to pursue an activity in their own way. Join them, not to guide them so much as to learn from them. We old folks have become so calloused to life for many reasons. Yet, we can discover a fresh look from children. Ask questions, encourage them to dream and imagine. Encourage siblings to join in the fun. Avoid an abundance of rules by encouraging positive discussion and debate.

Stoke creativity by teaching your grandchildren to wonder about things. When they are curious, they are more likely to discover things that interest them.