Public schools across the country are finding their arts and music programs cut due to budgetary problems. While art classes are the first to go when money is tight, this might not be best for children. Art actually offers many benefits in childhood development, and these benefits follow children into adulthood. Failing to foster creativity in children is ignoring some of the most important parts of their development.
Fortunately, school isn’t the only place your child can express his or her creativity. If you encourage artistic expression at home, your child will be able to develop important skills for his or her future. Confidence, diligence, and thinking outside of the box are just a few of the skills children develop from making art. Art also helps express feelings which may be difficult to be put into words. When you create an environment where your child feels safe and supported expressing herself creatively, you’re teaching her that her emotional world is important.
If you’re not artistically inclined yourself, it can be difficult to think of how to encourage your children to make art. What are some ways you can help your child creatively?
Every person has a unique way of expressing their feelings. This is true for adults and children alike. There are many ways to make art — music, drawing, sculpture, dance, poetry, and painting are just a few. Most children are inclined towards a particular method of creative expression when they first begin making art. When you see your child being creative, praise them. Provide the materials, space, and time for this art making activity in the future.
If your child has never been to a museum, now is the time to fix that. Even young children respond to and enjoy galleries and museums, and exposure to this material provides enrichment and inspiration. Research online to find gallery openings and exhibitions which may appeal to your child. Even if you don’t live in a large city, there are always places like Park West Gallery featuring local work. Even if a show seems likely to only interest adults, you may be surprised at how your child looks at and reacts to this mature work.
Particularly if your child is very young, she may not know how to use particular materials, or may simply not know where to begin. Your participation in creative time will help make it fun and lively, and can allow you to introduce new ideas and materials to your child. Your participation will also help you get to know your child better, and learn what’s on her mind and what inspires her. Your hands on approach will allow you to give your child proper encouragement.
Creativity is one of the most important things a child must learn. Create space for your child to express her artistic side and she will be happier, healthier, and smarter for it.