A regular scene in a toddler’s home:
“Two year old Aryan is playing in his living room. He chances upon a big bag full of toys and stationery. His mother Neena had got some new toys for Aryan and stationery, acrylic colour paints for his elder sister. Neena leaves the room to attend to a phone call. She comes back in a few minutes and sees her white walls filled with splashes of colour. There is more awaiting her. Aryan’s T shirt is painted with the same riot of colours of yellow, red, blue. Very innocently, Aryan says, “Isn’t it nice, Mom?”
What according to you would be the ideal reaction of Neena?Outcome 1:
Neena enters the room and on seeing the wall, screams, “Why did you spoil my beautiful living room? And look at your T shirt! Who is going to wash off those colours? Now, I have to clean up the whole mess”
Neena finishes the call and walks straight to the coloured wall and exclaims “Wow! Aryan. You have created something very beautiful. And did you know you used so many colours? From now on, we’ll keep a wall for you to exclusively paint on. And I shall also buy a book where you can paint to your hearts content.”
The parent’s reaction in the 1st scenario snubs the natural creativity of the child while that in the 2nd outcome makes an extra effort to be very open and encourages the child’s creativity, thereby making the child a confident one. (Realistically speaking, Neena does have her hands full with respect to the cleaning part!)
Children are innately very creative and curious. They love to explore the world and express their imagination very vividly. Parents make a powerful difference in the lives of their children. Parents have to take that extra effort to understand the inherent talent / creativity present in their child and give the freedom to express it. With freedom comes the confidence to express creativity. With creativity comes the skill to master drawing or any form of art!
Ways to foster creativity, confidence and drawing skills in young children:
Freedom of expression:
Give your child the freedom to show and express. Do not curb this freedom to explore and imagine. Do not ridicule or question your toddler while he/she is imagining through art.
Help your toddler to imagine creatively by providing resources for creative expression such as paints, colours, crayons, paper, colour pencils, water colours and other art related items.
Let your toddler indulge in unstructured play. This creates a medium for imagination and exploration. It enhances the creative capacity of the child. Give space and freedom of expression through unstructured play.
Create a conducive atmosphere:
Have an open atmosphere at home, which fosters creativity. Garner new ideas from young children. Their minds work overtime and the only thing that they need is an open atmosphere which welcomes their creative ideas and solutions. Celebrate innovation and creative expression.
Encourage art for pleasure:
Young children and toddlers should be encouraged to read books and indulge in art just for the sheer pleasure of expression. Limiting screen time/ TV time provides for ample time for these creative masters to dabble in art.
Confidence in kids:
An open environment with a space for freedom of imagination and expression gives rise to a confident child. A young child’s belief, “Yes, I can draw beautifully well!”, is a foundation for confidence building in the child. Always ask your child what he/she likes to do and make it a point to know their view point of the art that they have created. Do not give an adult perspective to the drawings.
For Example: A child doodles something on a piece of paper using different colour pencils. The end result is something that only the child knows. Do not ask questions like, “Is it a rose or a garden that you have drawn?” or “Is that a house with a sun in the background?”
Instead, ask questions like “Can you tell me more about your drawing? You seem to have used a good choice of colours.” Open ended statements and leading questions make the child express freely because he/she is self-confident and knows to express creatively.
Drawing Skills in Young children:
A toddler should be left alone with proper resources for drawing or doodling. It should be free form expression and exploration. Learning drawing skills is not appropriate at this age. A little older child of 5 to 6 years can be taught art and drawing skills. Always keep activities age appropriate.
Art classes for kids:
An Art class for young children gives more exposure to new materials and helps in generating new ideas. They have the freedom to touch and use the paints and other stuff, which could sometimes be messy when done at home.
In conclusion, parents are the most influencing factors in a young child’s life. Help your child to be more confident and creative by giving room for self-exploration and imagination, with access to the right art resources.