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5 Ways to Encourage Your Child to Become an Artist

5 Ways to Encourage Your Child to Become an Artist

We can’t all be artists, but we all have a potential for it, and if that potential is adequately nurtured it can flourish into something beautiful. You can never expect your child to become an artistic genius on his or her own. But if you provide enough motivation and support, you can successfully nurture your child to become a minor online celebrity.

Art is just like any other skill, it must be honed, and if you are talented the learning process is easier, but even without talent, a child can become an artist with enough practice and encouragement. So, here are five ways to help your children become accomplished artists in the future.

1. Provide inspiration

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    Children do not like to follow instructions – they like to explore and find what they like on their own. So, the best thing you can do is affect their environment and hope they will find something interesting that they would like to replicate. You can play different types of music to see whether they like what they hear, you can leave some comic books on the shelves and see if they are interested in reading, or you can decorate your walls with paintings.

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    Another thing you can do is provide your kids with the right tools, and if they are inspired by the art that surrounds them, they can immediately start to channel their creativity. So, make sure you have quality pens for drawing or brushes for painting, or you can buy a couple of instruments like a xylophone.

    It’s important to remember that even if your child is not particularly good at drawing, painting or playing an instrument, you should be glad that he or she has interest for it, and nurture that desire properly.

    2. Teach your child how to draw

    Sometimes children can be discouraged from pursuing their passion because it seemed difficult on their first attempt. Luckily, there are ways to tutor your children even if you are not a professional. There are various cool things to draw that are really easy, and you can teach your kid how to draw fairly quickly.

    Once the kid sees that it is easy and that he or she is good at it, there will be no hindrance to pursuit this passion. Of course, these are mostly basic cartoonish pictures, and it can’t be said that they have outstanding artistic value, but they will serve as perfect encouragement, and as a basis for future artistic endeavors.

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    Besides, even if your kid doesn’t become the next Picasso or Da Vinci, knowing how to draw can be helpful for finding a good job in the future. Graphic design is one of the most requested skills nowadays, because there are tons of tech firms that develop applications and video games, and these products require quality graphic design. Also the child can design logos, book covers, music album covers etc. Meaning, it’s definitely a useful skill to have.

    3. Coloring books

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      Your kid might be too young to draw or play an instrument, since it lacks a firm hand grip and coordination. However, your kid can still color and that can be a good hobby as well. Coloring will help your kid develop better color recognition, it is relaxing and, most importantly, it can inspire the child to draw once he or she feels more confident. You can either buy a coloring book and crayons so that your child can use them during play time, or you can download a coloring book or a coloring pages app from the app store.

      The app can be a better solution for beginners, since correcting mistakes and the whole act of coloring is way easier and precise, but in order for kids to develop better hand coordination, coloring with crayons is far better. Make sure you play some soothing background music, so that the whole act of coloring is more immersive and the child will grow to like it even more.

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      4. Lego blocks

      Assuming your kid is not interested in drawing, painting, sculpting or playing music, it still doesn’t mean he or she won’t become an artist. Did you know that there is museum of art that features figures made entirely out of Lego blocks? Maybe there is a creative architect lying dormant within your kid, and Lego blocks are a perfect way to tap into that hidden potential. Legos are used in many schools to teach kids some basics of math, reading and following instructions, and to teach them how to collaborate.

      Even though Legos usually come with an instruction manual, they also give your kids a lot of freedom to experiment and build on their own. They can create all sorts of sculptures, buildings, and even worlds if they have enough Legos to pull it off. Additionally, playing with Legos can help children improve their visualization skills, since they are creating something that is three-dimensional.

      As mentioned, it’s great for expressing themselves, for allowing their imagination to come to life, and to mold them into an accomplished architect one day.

      5. Give them more freedom

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        Lastly, you should never pressure you kids to be artistic, because it destroys the whole concept of art. You need to give them freedom and be supportive, you need to allow them to discover what they like to create. Maybe they love building sand or snow sculptures, maybe they love to come up with stories and write, or maybe they love to dance.

        There are many forms of art nowadays, and even new forms can come to life, because creativity knows no bounds. Art needs to be liberating, it needs to serve as a catharsis, therefore it is not to be forced out, it is only there to be admired, if it resonates with you in the right way.  Regardless of what your child creates – it doesn’t matter what it looks like – the most important thing to ask yourself is how it makes you feel.

        Featured photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@leorivasmicoud via unsplash.com

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        Djordje Todorovic

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        Published on May 24, 2019

        How to Raise a Confident Child with Grit

        How to Raise a Confident Child with Grit

        My husband and I facilitate a couple’s marriage and parenting group. Recently, the group discussed qualities, characteristics, and traits we wanted to see our children develop as they grow up. One term that came up that all parents seemed to upon agree as a highly valued trait was that of grit. The question from our group was:

        “Can grit be taught to our children?”

        The answer is, yes. Parents can help their child develop grit.

        What is grit? Dr. Angela Duckworth is the top researcher on this subject and wrote the book Grit. She defines grit as “passion and perseverance for long term goals”. This new buzz word is popular in the adult realm, but what about our developing children? What if we could help our children develop grit as young children.

        Grit is more crucial to success than IQ. Duckworth, through her research at Harvard, found that having grit was a better predictor for an individual’s success than IQ. This means having the smartest kid in the room doesn’t ensure any level of success in their future. They can be brilliant, but if they aren’t properly intrinsically motivated, they won’t be successful.

        Grit determines long term success. If a child can’t pick themselves up and try again after a failure, then how are they going to be able to do it as adult?

        What a gift it would be to our children to engage them in a manner that helps them recognize their passions, talents, and develop a persevere to purse their goals. Below are some tips on how to raise a confident child with grit.

        1. Encouragement is Key

        When a child wants to learn how to ride a bike, do they keep going after they fall down or do they quit after the first fall?

        If they aren’t encouraged to get up and try again, and instead are coddled and told they can try again some other day, then they are being taught to play it safe.

        Safe and coddled don’t exactly go hand-in-hand with building up grit. The child needs to be encouraged to try again. This can be a parent saying “you can do it, I believe in you” and “I know that even if you fall again you will try again and eventually you will get the hang of it”.

        Encouragement to keep trying so that they can build up perseverance is very helpful in building a child’s confidence. This confidence is what will help them strike out and try again.

        If they feel that they can’t do it or shouldn’t do it, then they won’t. The mind is a powerful thing. If a child believes that they can’t be successful in doing something, then they won’t be successful. Part of building that mentality of believing in themselves comes from encouragement from their parents, care givers, and teachers.

        Cheer Them On

        How many times have you heard a story of success that someone had in life that all began because someone believed in that person?

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        A coach, a mom, a teacher can have a huge impact by believing in the child’s ability to be successful and voicing that encouragement to them. Words are powerful. Use them to build up a child, by telling them that they can do it even if they have try again and again.

        Be their support system by being their cheerleader. Cheerleaders don’t just cheer when the team is winning. They cheer words of encouragement to keep the team going.

        The same goes with children. We need to cheer for their successes, but also cheer for them to keep going and fighting the fight when life gets tough!

        You Can’t Force Them

        Keep in mind that you can’t force a child to keep trying. They have to do it themselves.

        For example, when my daughter was learning to tie her shoes, it was a real struggle. She gave up. I couldn’t make her want to try to do it again. She had to take a break from the struggle for a few months and then try again.

        She was more successful the second time around, because she had matured and her fine motor skills had improved. It would have been ridiculous for me to force her to practice tying her shoes for the three or four months in between, with tears and arguing taking place.

        No, instead we took a break. She tried again later. Forcing her to learn something that she wasn’t ready to learn would have pit us against one another. That would have been a poor parenting move.

        There are boundaries that parents can set though in some cases. For example, if your child begins an activity and wants to quit mid-season because they are terrible at the sport, you have the opportunity to keep them in the sport through the end of the season to show them that quitting is not an option.

        Although they may not win another tennis match the rest of the season or win another swimming race all year long, finishing the commitment is important. It will help with the development of grit by teaching them to persevere through the defeat. It is character building.

        If your child is great at all things all the time, they will not develop grit. They need to try things that challenge them. When they aren’t the best at something, or for that matter, the worst, it creates an opportunity for them feel real struggle. Real struggle builds real character.

        2. Get Them out of Their Comfort Zone

        My daughter wanted to try cheerleading this past fall. She has never done this activity in the past, nor is she particularly coordinated (sorry sweetie). For that matter, she couldn’t even do a cartwheel when cheer season began.

        However, we signed up because she was so excited to become a cheerleader. I signed up to coach because there was a need for more cheer coaches. We were all-in at that point.

        Once the season began, I quickly realized that cheerleading was far outside my daughter’s comfort zone. The idea of cheerleading was great in her mind. The reality of memorizing cheers and learning physical skills that were hard for her made the experience a struggle. She wanted to quit. I said to her “no, you were the one who wanted to do this, so we finish what we started.” I had to say this more than once. I don’t think anyone on the squad knew this was the case, because she kept at it.

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        She kept practicing those cheers every evening. It did not come naturally to her at first, so it was uncomfortable. She always seemed to be half a beat behind the other cheerleaders, which made it very awkward and uncomfortable for her. However, letting her know that quitting mid-season was not an option made her try harder. She wanted to learn the cheers so she wouldn’t stand out on the squad as the girl who didn’t know what she is doing.

        By the end of the season, she became a decent cheerleader. Not the best, but she was no longer half a beat behind the rest. She learned skills that were hard for her to conquer. Now that she felt success in achieving something that was uncomfortable and hard for her. She knows she has it in her to do that in other areas of life.

        That is why it’s ok for us as parents to let our kids feel the struggle and be uncomfortable. If they don’t experience it when they are young, they will as adults, but they won’t be equipped with the perseverance and inner-strength built from years of working hard through smaller struggles as they grew up.

        Allowing our children to struggle helps them build that skill of perseverance, so that they have the grit to achieve hard things in life that they really desire to accomplish.

        3. Allow Them To Fail

        Your child will fail at things in life. Let them. Do not swoop in and rescue your child from their personal failures. If they don’t fail, then they don’t have the opportunity to pick themselves up and try again.

        If I had pulled my daughter from cheerleader once I realized that it was going to be a real struggle, she wouldn’t have experienced failure and struggle. Letting her have this small failure in life taught her lessons that can’t be taught in a classroom. She learned about the power she has within herself to try harder, to practice in order to make change happen, and to push through it even when you feel like giving up because it is embarrassing.

        Failure is embarrassing. Learning to handle embarrassment is taking on a fear. When kids learn to do this at a young age, it is practice for adult life. They will experience failure as an adult. They will be better equipped to handle life’s disappointments and failures if they have learned to handle the fear of embarrassment and failure when they are young.

        Practice builds up the skill. Processing and handling fear, embarrassment, and failure are skills.

        If I had pulled my daughter from cheer and allowed her to quit, I would have taken from her the opportunity to learn how to process and handle the embarrassment and failure she was experiencing at each practice and games. She learned to keep trying and that practicing the skills would lessen the embarrassment and feelings of failure.

        Learning the value of practice and how to preserve through the fear and failure are priceless lessons. We may want to rescue our children because we want them to be successful at the things that they do, but how will they be successful in this competitive world as adults if they are provided with only opportunities in which they succeed?

        Failure is needed to learn to thrive. Success in adulthood does not come easy to children who are protected from failure because they haven’t built up the ability to persevere.

        Perseverance comes when they have learned time and time again how to take the fear of embarrassment and failure head on and practice to get better.

        4. Teach Them to Try Again

        Encourage your child to try again. Don’t let them quit on the first try.

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        Life is hard. If we quit the first time we tried at things, we would never amount to anything in life. We need to teach our children that trying again is simply part of life.

        Help them to give it a go by providing encouragement and support. Offer to practice with them, provide them with tutoring or coaching if necessary — whatever it takes to get them back on the proverbial horse and trying again.

        Break it Down

        Sometimes failure occurs because they are trying something all at one time and they haven’t mastered the smaller components.

        For example, a math student isn’t going to jump into calculus as their first high school math course. No, of course not. They build on their skills. They begin with basic math, then algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and pre-calculus to then they get to the calculus level.

        If they are thrown into the deep end by taking on calculus before the foundation of their math skills are built, they will fail.

        Help your child try again by breaking down what it is they are trying to achieve.

        Going back to my cheer example… my daughter was not the best at learning the cheers when we began. It then dawned on me that we needed to break down each cheer phrase by phrase. Once we learned the phrase and movements that went with it, we could then learn the next one. Once these were learned, we could combine the phrases, practice them together, and then try to move to learn the next phrase in the cheer. It was a tedious process, but it worked.

        Not all skills come easy for kids. Helping them learn the skill of breaking things down into manageable tasks is another way we teach them about grit. They are learning to build skills by persisting, practicing, and building upon previous experience, knowledge, and skills.

        Grit is put into practice in childhood when they learn how to break down large tasks into smaller achievable tasks in order to build toward a greater goal.

        5. Let Them Find Their Passion

        Your child may be a wonderful pianist. However, if they aren’t passionate about the skill, then they likely won’t be happy or fulfilled in becoming a concert pianist.

        It’s great to help your child discover their talents, but also let them discover what they are passionate about in life.

        True success will come because they are passionate about the activity, not because they are the best. The best usually become that way because they are passionate first. Therefore, let your child experience a variety of activities and interests so that they can discover what they love to do.

        6. Praise Their Efforts, Not the Outcome

        Praising their efforts keeps them motivated and trying. If you focus on outcome, then when they fail, they will become defeated and discouraged.

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        Focusing on the fact that they tried hard and pointing out specific ways that they did well in terms of effort will support them in trying again. When you make a habit of focusing on outcome, then failures are avoided at all costs, including taking risks.

        Risks are needed in order to become successful. Therefore, make a habit of praising their efforts, even when the outcome is not what they had hoped and tried for, because eventually, if they keep trying their efforts will result in success.

        7. Be a Model of Grit

        If you are a parent or a caregiver for a child, then you are a model to that child. Children naturally look up to the adults in their life that are closest to them, especially their parents. They will look at your ability to persevere and achieve. Your grit will show.

        Your children are watching. They may not know the term grit, but they will learn about working hard, not giving up, trying again after failure, and all that grit entails from your actions.

        How you handle life is being watched by your children. You can work on your own grit by reading Angela Duckworth’s book Grit .

        Develop a Growth Mindset

        Helping your child develop a growth mindset is also helpful to your child in their development of grit. Dr. Dweck, author of Growth Mindset and researcher at Stanford, developed a theory of fixed versus growth mindset.

        Basically, what it means is that if you have a fixed mindset, you will fear failure and easily give up. Someone with a growth mindset believes that their talents, skills, and abilities can be improved with hard work and learning. Parents and caregivers can help with the development of a growth mindset.

          Some of the ways that a growth mindset can be developed include:

          • Teaching your child how the brain works: neuron connections, right brain versus left brain.
          • Teach them to set goals.
          • Teach them to have a “can do” attitude.
          • Teach them to develop a strategy when they want to achieve something.
          • Teach them that mistakes are an opportunity to learn.
          • Teach them that failure is a normal part of life.
          • Teach them about self talk: Self Talk Determines Your Success

          There are a great deal of activities and materials online for helping your child develop a growth mindset including these resources below (each site contains at least some free content):

          The Bottom Line

          Grit is not just for adults, it is something we can help our children develop. Grit is more critical to success than IQ, so we should be helping our children develop this quality early in life.

          As a parent, being a model of grit, is one of the first ways to help our children become “gritty”.

          Featured photo credit: Gabriela Braga via unsplash.com

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