The art of allowing your children to create..

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“Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up” – Pablo Picasso

When your child asks you if they can paint, what is your first reaction?  Even though I teach art and paint, when my kids ask me,  all I think is “oh no, the mess!”  but then I let go of that fear.  I bring out a huge mat and put out the brushes and paint and let them create, without interfering.  Do they make a mess?  Of course!  My four year old is usually covered head to toe in paint and I just take her into the shower to wash everything off.  It’s kind of fun to watch actually.  Here are some tips to help your child connect to their creative side:

  1. Stop interfering– You want to tell them that if they mix all the colors together, it will turn brown.  DON’T DO IT!   Let them see what will happen when they mix this color with that color, that is part of the learning process.  Eventually they will see what color combinations work well.
  2. Let them explore–  My student the other day wanted to use her fingers and  fingernails to paint, I let her do it!  Why?  Because I hate rules, especially when it comes to creating.  That’s the whole purpose of creating, to try different things and have fun while doing it.  To see what will work and what will not.
  3. Imperfection is perfection– I always tell my students this.  I have seen so many students and artists in general beat themselves up over something they made because it’s not perfect.  They even stop painting or creating.  REALLY?!  I love seeing the little imperfections in art, nature and in people.  It’s what makes us all unique and special.  Its also the process, not so much the end result that counts.
  4.  Let them just be– put on some music and watch them be in the present moment of creating. Children are good at that, we can learn a thing or two from them.
  5.  The messier, the better– Let them get paint or marker all over themselves, on their face and hands.  It feels good actually, you should try it with them.  Nothing brings me more joy than having paint all over my hands.  I read somewhere that when Picasso died, he had paint underneath his nails.  What’s the point of being so proper and clean all the time, it seems kinda boring to me.  I’m sure your children will agree.
  6. Let them choose– Do you want to paint or create this or that?  I always ask my students what they would like to do.  Flowers or landscape?  Owls or cats? I want them to enjoy what they are making.  I remember when I was in a art class and a mother asked the art teacher why he allowed her son, (let’s say Jason) to paint something that Jason wanted to paint.  I was shocked. She wanted her son to create what SHE wanted.   That’s just not ok.  Our kids need to express themselves through their feelings and thoughts, not ours!                                                                                                    When your child or a child creates, I hope you join in and let your creative side come out and play as well, I know it’s in there!
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