I love art, design and anything visually graphic. I also love children (especially my own). Throughout my years, I've occasionally taught art to children, which has been a very rewarding experience for me. It's really interesting to see how art can be used to further learning and development in other unrelated disciplines. Occasionally, parents will ask me how to foster artistic abilities in their own children. As humans, we can learn anything that we WANT to learn. Artistic talent is not innate to specific individuals, but the drive to want to be artistic is. Artists continually practice their craft to better their abilities just like athletes practice their sport. Malcolm Gladwell, the famous sociological author, states in his book, "Outliers," that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in any one discipline . Most people will never give the 10,000 hours it takes to achieve "expert" levels in any one discipline, especially art. I tell parents that they should instead focus on fostering a creative environment in their home that allows the child to pursue their own passions - whatever that may be.
Creativity is Innate.
Children are born with a desire to create. Their creations may include paintings, sculpture, the written word, drawings and whatever their little brains can simply imagine. The joy of watching children make and do things creatively is one of life’s greatest treasures, and those of us, who are fortunate enough to have the chance to witness this first hand, are quite lucky, indeed. Childhood is such a free, uninhibited time that is crucial to the creative development and future success of the child.
Creativity is Deteriorating.
Trouble has been brewing, though. What I’m about to say is nothing new to those in the trenches of education, but now there is solid proof. According to a study completed by a professor of education at the College of William and Mary, Kyung Hee Kim, we are losing our creativity. What once made our nation stand out from the rest – innovation and creative thinking – is being lost. After examining the scores from a battery of tests called the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking (TTCT), Kim discovered that the creativity levels of a cross sampling of our nation’s youth has been in steady decline since 1984 . This study should not only alarm those in education but everyone concerned about the future of our nation, as well. Kim specifically states in his report that, “To reverse decline in creative thinking, the United States should reclaim opportunities for its students and teachers to think flexibly, critically and creatively.” 
How To Kill Creativity.
If we want to keep the status quo, if we want to continue this imminent decline in our ability to think and discover new things in new ways, then follow my ten easy tips to turn your children away from art and inevitably the ability to think critically and objectively in new ways across many different disciplines.
1. Be extremely critical when your children try new ways of doing things. Nothing like the pressure of criticism to really nail the coffin on creative endeavors. A glare or scowl on your face is a nice touch, too.
2. Over-plan and over-organize every aspect of your child’s day. There are too many things to be done during these critical years to include any downtime. Nobody has time for free play.
3. Never set clear expectations and parameters for quality of work. Ambiguity and vague instructions are wonderful for increasing frustration levels and decreasing the willingness to try new things!
4. Never allow active discussions about ideas in your home. This will only elevate children’s oral & critical thinking skills as they are acquired more quickly within a group setting.
5. Never, ever, ever simply listen and talk with the child. This will only increase collaboration with the adults in the child’s life aiding in a rise in self-esteem and independence.
6. Always expect perfectionism and never allow your child to stray from the original intent of a project no matter how much they have learned otherwise. Some of my past students’ most creative and interesting work has been when they took an art lesson of mine and made it their own. How creative…
7 Test, test and test some more until their little minds burst with testing skill proficiency. Wow those standardized tests, SAT & ACT scores look amazing, but what a creativity killer! This is also a great tactic for ignoring kidswith proficiency in other enrichment areas.
8. Only allow your child to play on electronic devices for extremely long periods of time. Devices can be a nice tool to help in creative endeavors within small chunks of time, but don’t be discouraged. Lots of time on devices is great for killing those experiences manipulating real world objects in real time, an activity crucial for enhancing creativity.
9. Drill, drill and drill some more! Nothing like rote memorization and constant drill to really discourage out of the box thinking.
10. Never allow children to ask questions or come up with their own problems to solve. Asking their own questions and exploring the answers to problems they examine only increase creativity levels in children.
Creativity Can Thrive.
In conclusion, we have a creativity crisis on our hands. I don't really want you to kill your child's creativity - I want you to foster it! What once set our country apart from others, innovation and creativity, is on the decline. It will take persistence and a complete overhaul in thinking and practice from parents, teachers, school administration and to all levels of government and policy makers to change the course. The creativity we possessed is still there and accessible if we only just get out of its way and create environments for children that are conducive to a creative life no matter what path they pursue on life's journey.
 Gladwell, Malcolm (2011). Outliers; The Story of Success, Back Bay Books
 Kyung Hee Kim (2011). The creativity crisis: The decrease in creative thinking scores on the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking. Creativity Research Journal, 23, 285-295