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The Benefits of Art and Your Child

Introducing art to children has a number of benefits ranging from improving creativity to increasing self confidence. Learn how to introduce art to your children.

Sufiya came home after a long hard day's work. She was exhausted and irritable. When she got home she was greeted by her three—year-old son who was jumping up and down, full of energy, and yelling at the top of his voice. In the past, Sufiya would be at a loss as to what to do in such a situation. Irritated and tired, she often rudely snapped at her son to silence him and later felt guilty about it. A friend of hers suggested she encourage her son to take up painting to keep him occupied and help him channel his energy. Now whenever Sufiya needs a breather and can't play with her son, she gets him to sketch something for her. This gives Sufiya time to relax.

Art to Conquer Boredom and Stress

Encouraging your child to doodle when he is idle is the perfect solution to boredom. Just give your child enough art material and allow his imagination to run wild. Sitting down with your child, and drawing something as well, is an excellent way to spend quality time with him.

There is a wide range of media available for your child to discover his artistic side. You can start your child with pastels, switch to water colours as he grows up, and, if he nurtures the art habit, you may even see your child graduate to oil paintings one day. Encouraging art also includes letting your child try his hand at modelling with play dough, pot painting, and other activities. Think out of the box. Have your child make something out of odds and ends, like a paper bag puppet, for example.

Dabbling in art is also a great stress buster. In fact, psychologists encourage a child to draw so that they can draw inferences from the child's art and psychoanalyse them. Drawing and painting can also be an ideal way for children to vent their pent-up feelings.

Benefits of dabbling in Art

Introducing your child to art can play a pivotal role in your child's development. Art can help develop a child's creativity, imagination, cognitive skills, problem-solving abilities, fine motor skills, and much more. Children who regularly participate in a comprehensive art programme are four times more likely to be elected to class office, four times more likely to be in a math or science fair, and four times more likely to win an award for writing, according to research published by Americans for the Arts.

Art helps build self esteem as children take pride in the works of art they create. It helps to develop their problem-solving skills, especially when faced with three dimensional problems such as sculpting. Art helps children to improve their sensory awareness and improve their manual dexterity. This is because a child needs to observe something, try to recreate what he see's in his mind's eye, and try to match it with reality.

Helping Your Child Discover Art

Appreciating works of art is as important as encouraging your child to take up art. Regardless of whether your child is a budding artist, or merely likes to look at pictures, a trip to the local art gallery will help to get the creative juices flowing. Children, at different ages, are found to appreciate different aspects of art. While a younger child will appreciate shapes and colour, older children will focus more on how realistic the painting is. It is only after a considerable amount of study in art that a child will understand symbolism and style.

Today there are art books that have been specifically written for children, aiming to interest children in learning about some of the world's great painters and their masterpieces. An older child can be encouraged to tell stories using their pictures or even try his hand at drawing a comic strip.

If your child has a natural talent for art, try to enrol him in as many art activities as possible. These might range from art classes to summer art courses. The important point is that you nurture your child's talent without forcing him, because that might cause him to burn out and he may start hating anything to do with art.

Is your child more art oriented or sports oriented? What does your child like to draw? How do you exhibit your child's works of art? To share your views, experiences, and tips, click here.

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