Art is an essential component to raising a well-rounded child, yet many school districts have cut art programs due to funding problems. What can you do as a parent to make sure your child gets exposed to the arts?
Many children are inherently interested in the arts, whether it’s music, painting, dancing or another medium. So what can you do as a parent to make sure your child’s interest in the arts continues to develop? Experts say parents play a crucial role in developing children’s interests and creativity. Here are some tips on how you can enhance your child’s interest in the arts.
Expose them to many genres
Although you as a parent may enjoy music or visiting art museums, your child may have different interests. That’s why it’s important to expose them to as many types of art mediums as possible so they can figure out which ones interest them most.
“I think parents are often afraid that kids will be bored, so they don’t take them to experience a variety of arts,” said Trisha Craig, director of Music Makers in North Hampton, N.H. “Children do have short attention spans, so plan to see half a concert or ballet, or just one exhibit in a museum.”
Make it casual
Want your children to share your art addiction? Don’t force it on them, advises Kila Kitu, a Los Angeles producer and actress.
“To foster an interest in opera, play it around the house,” she said. “Let them see the joy it gives you and include them in it. They will come to you.”
Get back to the basics
Today’s kids are greatly exposed to technology, but Jenny Benjamin encourages putting computers and TV aside for some quality time to appreciate the art that surrounds them on a daily basis.
“With my three daughters, ranging from ages 4 to 11, I encourage a lot of free time without media inputs to enjoy books, art work or nature,” the former educator and owner of JB Communications said.
To set a good example for your child, be open-minded as a parent. Although you may have no interest in ballet, don’t project negativity toward that art form to your child.
“I find that children are enthralled with everything they see or hear, but the adults in their lives must be equally excited about new things in order to keep the magic alive,” Craig said.
Get creative yourself
While keeping the actual text a secret from her 6-year-old daughter, Sherry Boykin had her daughter illustrate a book Boykin wrote for her.
“We then had a hardcover edition printed with her illustrations on the cover and on every page,” the inspirational speaker said. “When it arrived in the mail, my daughter lit up like a Christmas tree. Her first grade teacher even put it in the school library.”
Make it fun
Want to teach your children about art, but don’t want it to feel like a classroom setting? Kitu suggests turning your art lesson into a game.
“Act out Midsummer Night’s Dream, letting your child pretend to turn you into a donkey,” she said. “Have a child currently into Go Fish and Old Maid? Create a new deck replacing the king, queen, jack and joker with your favorite artists, or a deck with major works of art on the backs.”