Encourage your Child's Creativity with Positivity!

by Angela Bandurka

I've taught numerous types of children's art classes, as well as adult art classes (plus I am a mom as well). If there's one thing I've noticed in the classrooms and dining rooms of young people, it's that they love to create and their parents want to help them but don't know how.

Well here are some pieces of advice I've picked up along the years to share with you :)

- Use positive language! For example, if your child asks you how to draw a house, you might say something like this "I'm not sure, why don't we try putting a triangle on top of a rectangle and then go from there?"
- Let your child take the lead on creative projects. You can help them in a playful way, but try not to lead them at all. This will shut them down.
- Use a playful, soothing and encouraging tone. Creative time should be a safe environment to foster creativity. Playing gentle, fun, playful music can be helpful.
- Don't stress out about the mess! Set up expectations with your kids: "Why don't we create and be messy for one hour and then let's clean up together!"
- Make a variety of creative tools available. Paint, pencils, paper, cardboard, items from the recycling bin, glue, tape, etc!
- Encourage them to enjoy the process. That's where the magic happens. They'll take your lead on this!
- Send your child to art classes! Classes are usually provided through community centers and local art supply stores - at ARTspot we have many classes for younglings on our website: www.artspotedmonds.com

- Never ever project your insecurities onto your child. It's ok to feel like you're out of your comfort zone, just don't express it to your kids in a negative way. Kids look up to their parents. If you say something like "Art stresses me out" then your child will think that they should feel that way, too.
- Do not tell your child that they are doing anything wrong, even if the house they're drawing looks like a mushroom. Art is subjective and there is no wrong way to do it. Think about Picasso and his work!
- Do not give your child unsolicited help for something they're doing: if they seem frustrated or you see how they could improve their art in some way, find a POSITIVE way to express it, making sure you say something good about their work before helping: "Hey! That's a great use of the colour blue! What would happen if you added another colour somewhere in there? Try it if you want!" - and then leave them to do it themselves.

The key is letting them create, succeed and fail, feel secure in the knowledge that this is their personal time to be free to express themselves. The benefits are many!

Art not only helps our kids, it can help US, too - so get in there and get messy with your kids. You can always clean it up later!



What are the Benefits of Art Education for Children?
Read all about it at http://www.livestrong.com/article/164517-what-are-the-benefits-of-art-education-for-children/?utm_source=popslideshow&utm_medium=a1

  • Hand-eye Coordination
  • Concentration
  • Creativity
  • Self Expression
  • Risk Taking

Long Term Benefits of Art Classes
The whole deal can be explored at http://www.livelongerpost.com/researchers-discover-the-long-term-health-benefits-of-art-class-programs/
Researchers have recently discovered the health benefits of art class programs particularly in helping children and teens with emotional and behavioral problems. It has also improved behaviors and helped promote positive thinking.

Arts in Health: a Review of the Medical Literature 

From the Arts Council of England: http://www.nasaa-arts.org/Learning-Services/Past-Meetings/B-Health-MedLitReview.pdf

Different artforms have been shown to have different effects.

  • The use of literature, creative writing and poetry in mental health services produces significant benefits for both the patient and the care provider.
  • It enables patients to regain control over their own inner world, increasing their mental wellbeing. It helps the nursing and medical staff to understand the cultural, social, ethnic and economic factors influencing the behaviour of patients
  • Theatre, drama and visual arts all provide patients with powerful ways of expressing themselves and understanding their own world. This promotes empathy between patients and staff
  • Music, singing and dancing all help mental health patients to recall events from their lives. These artforms help them to express themselves and, on a physical level, to increase their range of movement 

It highlights the crucial importance of the arts and humanities in

  • inducing positive physiological and psychological changes in clinical outcomes
  • reducing drug consumption
  • shortening length of stay in hospital
  • increasing job satisfaction
  • promoting better doctor-patient relationships
  • improving mental healthcare
  • developing health practitioners’ empathy across gender and cultural diversity 

Aging and Health Benefits of Art:
AARP Link: "Lively Arts"
"We know intuitively that art and creativity can dramatically improve older people's quality of life and health" - Gay Hanna, Ph.D., Executive Director, Society for the Arts in Healthcare (SAH). "Creative activities like painting, writing, pottery, drama, singing, and storytelling raise self-esteem, increase enthusiasm for life, and result in fewer doctor visits," says Gene D. Cohen, M.D., Ph.D., of George Washington University's Center on Aging, Health, and Humanities at the George Washington University Medical Center.
More information on this is also available at this link http://www.agingwellmag.com/news/ex_082809_03.shtml