Every child is an artist.
I believe creativity is our birthright. From the moment babies take their food and smear it across the kitchen table, stack blocks or wiggle their little bottoms to their mama’s dishwashing tunes, creativity has begun. Over the years, I have heard the conundrum parents face:
- “How do I foster my child’s creativity when I don’t feel creative?”
- “I am overwhelmed by arts and crafts because it’s so messy!”
- “I don’t have the time or patience to let my child play with paint”
- “In comparison to other things in life, art isn’t really that important…is it?”
Let’s start with the stereotypical adult who doesn’t feel very creative. Inside of you is a child aching to do something different with your day. Aching to throw a wrench in the monotony of life and find the zest for life that seems to have taken a walk in the woods and got lost. Maybe you will find it refreshing to hear my favourite definition of creativity. The thought provoking writer, Elizabeth Gilbert describes creativity as
“The relationship between a human being and the mysteries of inspiration”.
Take a deep breath and reread that last sentence. If you received a typical education, this definition is fresh and liberating! How simple! How freeing! Living a creative life is not about being an elite part of the human race gifted with incredible talents. It is not about the ability to apply colours uniquely to a canvas, crafting words on a page to sell billions of copies or writing a song that goes viral on YouTube.
Creative living is engaging with the mysteries of inspiration. It’s about making decisions based on curiosity rather than fear. (Ok…I wish I could take credit for that last sentence as well, however, that’s also from Liz Gilbert lol) But seriously, how can I write a blog telling you of the incredible benefits painting does for children, without first helping release the caregivers of these children from the misconceptions that often keep adults from engaging with their own creativity in the first place.
If I only told you how art increases a child’s ability to communicate, their emotional wellbeing, motor skills and so on, you would be excited for a day or two of activities before the next blog on food or exercise caught your attention and you forget about the art because of all the sensory overload you are exposed to in any given day. Which by the way is currently 34 gigabytes worth of data DAILY.
Leave your inner critic away from your creative space. When a child is painting, ask them specific questions about their work, such as “can you tell me why you chose to cover this side with red and that with black?” Refrain from telling them to do more if they say “finished”…even if it is simply a mere squiggle across the page, as it is vital for a child to know that what they have created is enough. If the child is intimidated easily, then make sure to avoid doing art with them as they will only compare themselves to you and quickly leave the space feeling inadequate. Allow their confidence to build.
So the next time you have a pen in your hand at the board meeting by all means DOODLE! The next time you place a meal on a plate, do it with love and creative placement. The next time you hear a beat, shake that ass. And by all means, sing in the shower so loud the kids are surprised. Your life is a blank canvas…by all means get some paint on it.