These days, creativity seems to be all that counts. With every industry turning towards more creative, innovative approaches and more "thinking outside the box," it makes sense that parents might want to do their best to prep their child to enter the real world as early as possible.

The new push for creativity may also be largely due to a decline in reported overall American creativity in the last 25 years. According to expert KH Kim, American creativity and IQ scores have consistently declined since 1990.

In her book The Creativity Challenge, however, Kim offers a solution for parents who want to raise creative kids. Apply this three-step process, and watch your children bloom.

1. Encourage creative climates

While a certain amount of our thinking is influenced by genetics, the environment in which we reside also influences us a fair amount. Kim reports 4 "S" climates that are conducive to creative thinking, as follows:

  • Soil: Diverse resources and experiences
  • Sun: Inspiration and encouragement
  • Storm: High expectations and challenges
  • Space: Freedom to be alone and unique

2. Cultivate creative attitudes

Attitudes--and the way we feel about things--change the way we might react to different climates. Each of the above "S" climates has 6 different attitudes associated with it, indicating the way a person might become more curious optimists and creative thinkers:

  • Optimistic
  • Big-picture thinking
  • Curious
  • Spontaneous
  • Playful
  • Energetic

3. Apply creative-thinking skills

Last, but definitely not least, Kim stresses that it's necessary for people to understand the three styles of creative thinking: outbox, inbox, and newbox.

  • Outbox thinking is divergent or outside-the-box thinking that seeks nonconforming ideas that are spontaneous, flexible, and original.
  • Inbox thinking includes traditional ways of accomplishing tasks or choosing the right answer--essential for developing expertise or mastering a subject or skill.
  • Newbox thinking combines elements of inbox and outbox thinking to combine/synthesize unrelated ideas and transform them into a creation--essential for innovation.

Now that we have the tools to start raising our kids to become creative thinkers, we should get to work. Our creative, innovative future is waiting.