If you have not already done so, please read Blog Posts 1 through 5 that describe how sleep is important and beneficial. I will post specific information for parents and children based on my book, “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.” Please do not be put off by my book’s length. This is a reference book. Read only the topic of interest to you.
Healthy Sleep makes your child smarter (Blog Post 121) and more creative!
Doing something new or different requires ‘divergent thinking’. Imagine your child is playing with building blocks or a wooden train set. She might only copy the picture on the toy’s package, or she might create many novel versions with the toys. Attempting something new instead of always imitating what is shown is called ‘Divergent Thinking’. Divergent Thinking is like creativity. The unusual box test measures divergent thinking in infants.
The ‘Unusual Box Test’
Imagine a colourful small box designed with a hole in one wall and within the box there are attached stairs, ledges, rings, and strings. Placed in the box are 5 novel objects: A spiral-shaped egg holder, an unusually shaped toy plastic spatula, a shaker, a rubber chew toy for a dog, and a plastic hook. The box is placed on a turntable and the experimenter rotates the box and highlights each feature of the box when that specific feature is in front of the child. The child is also able to turn the box. The child is given one of the 5 objects and is told that s/he could play with the object and the box. After 90 seconds, play is stopped, and the process is repeated sequentially for the remaining 4 objects. Each novel object play trial lasts 90 seconds. Video recordings measure the number of different actions (jump, hit, or place) and the locations of the actions (stairs, ledges, or hole) performed for all 5 trials combined. A higher number of actions indicates a higher level of divergent thinking. Among 3- and 4-year-old children, high scores on this test correlate with standardised tests of creativity for older children. Also, reliable results were observed in 2-year-olds and separately, in a group of children 19-23 months-old. That is, the children’s scores were consistent when tested and retested two weeks later.
A 2021 report used the Unusual Box Test in a group of infants 13-16 months of age showed that:
The Sleep Advice Conclusion: Healthy Sleep makes your child more creative!
I’m Dr. Marc Weissbluth and I’m a baby and children sleep training expert. Want to know how to get babies and children to sleep through the night? Subscribe to my blog today!