One of the ways that you can encourage your child to be a creative problem solver, as well as to find a healthy outlet for emotions and frustrations, is to get him or her involved in the arts. This does not mean that your child needs to become a theater star or a violin virtuoso. Learning to enjoy art, and participate in it, can help your child’s development in a number of ways. Various studies indicate that involvement in the arts can help with math and science understanding, as well as help students deal with stress and depression. On top of that, practice in art can help provide confidence, self-motivation and discipline.
Helping Your Child Enjoy Art
There are a number of different types of art that you can teach your child to enjoy. Some of the arts include:
Arts are interactive and provide children with mental and physical stimulation. Indeed, there are few children who do not get excited at the prospect of listening to new kinds of music, modeling with Play-Doh or dancing around the room. These activities provide exposure to the arts, and can ignite a life-long interest in different art forms.
Young kids are enthusiastic about art-related activities, and you can help them preserve that enthusiasm as they grow. The first step is exposure. Children need exposure to the arts in order to continue enjoying them. If the arts become “normal” to children, then they are more likely to continue incorporating them into their lives. One of the best ways to do this is by looking at what is available in the community. Many towns and cities offer children’s museums, matinees for theater and dance performances, and story times. All of these activities can help children get used to enjoying the arts.
If you are concerned about the cost of some of these activities, you can limit attendance to one or two times a year, and look for free activities. My husband and I take our son to the local summer art fair each year. We browse offerings of artists from near and far, and talk about what we see. My husband and I let our son hear us debate what we like about different types of art, and we usually buy one or two things, allowing our son a chance to share his views as well. Talking to your child about art, and listening to your child, is a great way to encourage him or her to think about it, and learn to like it.
Consider what you can do at home. Play different types of music in the home, teaching your child that there are things to enjoy about music from different cultures, classical music and different genres of modern music. My son enjoys big band music just as much as he likes alternative music. It is also possible to borrow stage performances of plays on DVD from your local library. When my brother was growing up, he loved watching a stage version of Peter Pan on DVD.
If your child has the inclination, and you have the time and money, enrollment in painting, music or dance instruction can further encourage interest in the arts. I took dance lessons (ballet, tap and clogging) for a long time, in addition to piano lessons. More recently, I began learning the guitar. My son has seen me practice the piano and the guitar, and understands that even adults can continue to enjoy the arts, and that arts classes aren’t just for kids.
With a little encouragement, it is possible for children to develop a lifelong love of the arts that can help their development, and provide interests that can be a healthy part of life.