Are the kids having too much time on their hands at home? If you haven’t already been doing so, engaging them in some creative activities is one excellent way to keep them busy!
As you might know, arts and creative pursuits are immensely beneficial to children. Amongst other things, it is a fantastic avenue for honing their motor skills, encouraging self-expression, and exercising their creativity. And it isn’t too difficult to get started, either. All you need is to provide your child with the materials and an art zone in the home (that you don’t mind getting a little dirty!).
However, another aspect of nurturing creativity in children goes beyond the tangible facilities we provide. Experts suggest that the way parents talk to their children about art and creativity also play a part. Think you know how to respond to your child’s art projects? Or are your words unwittingly stifling their creativity rather than promoting it? Here are some useful guidelines you can use the next time when talking to your child about art!
Show genuine interest
Not everyone is inclined to be interested in arts and craft, and that’s perfectly fine. But when it comes to nurturing a child’s confidence and creativity, it is always more beneficial to show them that you are interested, rather than glossing over the child’s endeavours.
Rather than dish out general comments like ‘That’s nice’, show them that you are paying attention by asking specific questions. For example, you could say something like, “I see you’ve painted 5 lovely flowers! What’s that you’ve drawn in the corner?”
Focus on the process, not product
Let’s be honest, children’s art pieces don’t always look stunning! Sometimes, they are outright messy or indecipherable. Yet, it is the process of making it that matters more. Your child might still be figuring out how to make use of the medium and materials, or exploring concepts like colours, shapes, and depth.
So, instead of critiquing the final work, opt to understand the process behind it. You can ask your child questions like “What’s your favourite part of making this?” or remarks like “I see you’ve put in a lot of effort to colour this!”
Uncover the intention
At first glance, your child’s drawing or sculpture might not seem like much, but upon further probing, there is almost always a story behind it. The scribbles may be depicting their treasured memories or wildest imaginations – and you won’t know until you ask them about it!
If your child doesn’t automatically share their motivation behind the art, you can start to ask them ‘why’ questions. For example, ask questions like “Why did you draw 5 flowers?” or “Why are all the flowers yellow in colour?” You might be surprised at what goes on in their minds when making these pieces of art!
Affirm and support
Finally, just talking about art isn’t enough. Children are often very proud of the art they make, and it will be a great boost to their confidence if their work is given affirmation. On top of verbal affirmations like saying ‘well done’, parents can offer to put up your child’s art on display at home.
Dedicate a wall or display board at home to their favourite art pieces, and update it every time they make a new piece they are satisfied with. Having a visual reminder of their art can do so much to give them a sense of ownership and achievement over their creative pursuits!
With these tips, parents can do so much more to empower their children in their creative pursuits. Just by paying a little more attention to the things you say, you can make a difference in how your child gains confidence in their skills and expression.
Aiding children to grow in creativity is also a growing focus in schools today. One example of an international school in Singapore that helps young minds foster their innovative minds is the Canadian International School. The school takes in students from the IB elementary school level through to those taking IB diploma courses. Through ample in-class and after-school arts activities, students studying the IB programme there will have no lack of arts exposure from a young age.