The most treasured memories for any parent are those handmade “I Love You Mom” or “I Love You Dad” cards stuck to the fridge. Those scraggly figures with long hair and even longer arms hardly resemble you, but mean more than any store-bought card ever could!
Art, especially drawing, is one of the first ways through which a child learns to express himself or herself creatively. According to a study, ‘The Role of Drawing in Promoting Children’s Communication in Early Childhood Education’ by Joyce Ofosua Anim at the Dublin Institute of Technology and University of Malta (2012), drawing is said to help the child in her cognitive, emotional, social and communicational development. Based on the findings, the researcher states, ‘Children’s spontaneous drawing allows them to share and communicate ideas about the world and with the people around them. Therefore, children should be given open–ended opportunities to use drawing as a medium to make their intentions known.’
While some children take to the canvas naturally, others might show some hesitation in taking to drawing. Here are a few tips on how you can nurture your child’s creative abilities. After all, in every child there resides an artist.
- Get Your Hands Dirty: You are your child’s first role model and he will follow your example. So, it’s important for your child to see you pick up the brush (or colour pencil) every now and then to draw. Talk to him about what you are doing, and he will automatically try to imitate you. Remember never to belittle yourself or your art in front of your child. It will send the wrong message to the child about not being confident of your work. And, he will also feel the same way about what he creates. To help develop your child’s interest in drawing, you need to sit and draw with him. Remember, you don’t have to be an artist, you just need to have the interest.
- Try New Techniques: To keep drawing and colouring fun, it is important to introduce new tools and techniques. While one day you can paint using brushes, another day you can try out finger painting. You can also use chalk, markers, pens and crayons. However, give your child the space to explore and develop her own work. Her perception of ‘how to draw an elephant’ may be different than yours. Giving your child space will help develop her creativity.
- Try New Surfaces: Sitting in one place and drawing on a piece of paper is not always fun. Come up with innovative ideas. Use sand as your canvas or draw a face on a balloon or make a cardboard house and ask your child to colour it. The trick is to enable your child to use his imagination through drawing.
- Talk to Your Child: One sure way of encouraging your child to draw is by taking an interest in what she draws. Encouragement doesn’t end with saying, “That’s a pretty picture!” Talk to your child about the colours she uses or the lines she draws (or tries to draw), especially if your child is very young. Your interest in her art will encourage her to try out new things.
- Be Patient: The younger the child, the shorter will be his attention span. So, learn to be patient and do not pressurise him into drawing or colouring. Instead of a colouring book, give him a blank sheet of paper and let him draw whatever he wants. If your child loses interest, do not pressurise him. Try another time.
- Right Art for the Right Age: It is important for you, as a parent, to understand what to expect in the form of art and at what age. Just as children first learn to sit and then stand, they first learn to scribble and then move on to drawing realistic objects. Around the age of three, children learn to draw and join lines. And, between the ages of three and four, they learn to draw realistic images. It is a natural progression and it is important for parents to be realistic.
With these tips, go on and encourage your little one to have fun with colours.
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