What if I told you there is a research proven way to…
- Encourage your child to explore and increase their creativity and imagination.
- Allow your child to express themselves, to relive happy, joyous times and to resolve and integrate times of sorrow.
- Allow your child to communicate emotions, including difficult emotions (which can lead to growth and behavioral change, by the way).
- Allow your child to better understand and learn, even in more complex topics like science.
- Help your child improve their memory.
- All while having fun.
- On top of all that, the activity is simple, too.
Would you be interested in such an activity? What is it? Drawing. That’s right drawing contributes to everything listed above… and it’s fun. How can you implement this activity into your child’s life and allow them to enjoy the benefits? Here’s some tips:
- Provide the materials needed to draw and engage in art/craft projects. Make sure you have crayons, markers, colored pencils, craft supplies, paper…whatever materials that might entice your child to engage in drawing. Make these supplies easily accessible. Put them within reach.
- Give your children time to draw, color, paint, or make a craft. Many times, our children’s time is completely scheduled. They move from activity to activity with only enough time to grab a fast-food meal on the way. Slow down. Give your child the time they need to relax and creatively engage in art.
- Encourage your children to draw or engage in art activities. It’s one thing to provide the time to engage in art. It’s another to encourage them to draw when they begin. One action that will encourage your children to draw is to participate in the drawing activity with them. Draw alongside them or collaborate on a drawing with them. As you do, talk to them about their art, the experiences of the day, their dreams, their lives. You will learn how your child sees their world, and what is happening In their world, by observing their artwork and talking about it.
Grab some paper, crayons, pencils, paints…whatever will spark your children’s creative juices. Keep those supplies handy and let your children draw. Encourage them by participating in the activity with them. That’s it. That’s all it takes to enhance your child’s creativity, emotional expression, and communication as well as your knowledge and understanding of your child. Even better, you’ll build a more intimate relationship with your child as well… all while having fun.
Nurturing a positive self-concept in our children as they move through the “tween” and teen years can be a challenge. Harsh, even mean, social comparisons and peer criticisms chip away at their self-esteem on a daily basis. However, research published in April 2019 offers a practical and efficient way to improve our children’s self-esteem even during these years. This study used data collected from 6,209 11-year-old children participating in the United Kingdom Millennium Cohort study. These children completed a self-esteem scale as well as a questionnaire to determine how often they listened to or played music, engaged in visual arts, or read for enjoyment at home. They were also asked how often, if at all, one or both parents joined them in the activity. Finally, teachers rated the children’s level of ability in music, art, design, and the English language. The results revealed at least three interesting findings.
- Children who engaged in visual arts activities “most days” tended to have significantly higher levels of self-esteem than those who participated less often. That difference doubled when comparing those who engaged in art activities “most days” with those who engaged in art activities “less than once a month.”
- Children who engaged in reading or in making/listening to music with a parent 1-2 times a week also reported a higher level of self-esteem than those who did not.
- Finally, a child did not have to be good at the activity to reap the benefit of a higher self-esteem by engaging in that activity. It appears that engaging in the activity, not one’s ability, was the key factor.
In other words, a great way to nurture your child’s self-esteem is through visual arts, music, and literature. Children experienced a higher self-esteem when engaging in visual arts independently and with parents. Reading and music showed increases in self-esteem when engaged in with a parent. What does this mean for you and your children? You can nurture a healthy self-concept and a higher level of self-esteem in your child by:
- Reading to them and with them.
- Reading the same book as your child and taking the time to talk about the book with your child or teen.
- Listen to music together and talk about the music you listen to.
- Sing together. Play instruments together. (This is a great family fun night, too.)
- Dance together.
- Draw or paint together.
- Make crafts or art projects together.
You may be thinking, “But I’m no good at those things.” That’s OK. Remember, the study revealed that you don’t have to be good at the activity to reap the benefits of an improved self-image. Just enjoy the process. Enjoy the time together. And enjoy your child’s boost in self-esteem.