Children enter this world as blank slates, which is what makes parenting both exciting and daunting – and to mark World Art Day on April 15 we look at the importance of helping your child appreciate the arts.
It can be hard to figure out what to teach your child, and ensuring they explore, appreciate and connect with art – in all its forms – can end up taking a backseat.
However, some experts believe that art — from drawing to dancing to visiting galleries — can enhance a child’s skill sets and add color to their development.
Jessica Rosslee, a clinical psychologist at Dubai’s Thrive, said artistic expression should be part of all children’s upbringing, as it is a universal language.
“Creativity doesn’t have any set requirements, it doesn’t need a specific language, skill or any qualification, it ultimately meets the child where they are at,” she said.
Rosslee said it is vital to incorporate art in children’s learning experience as it has a positive impact on their emotional, social and cognitive development.
“Art serves as a creative outlet for children’s emotions, so in essence art helps children to regulate their emotions.”
When kids practice art, they are also engaging in conversations with their peers and adults, which helps hone their social skills, Rosslee said.
But art also helps kids’ brains develop better.
“Research mentions that neural connections are being made at a rapid rate during the brain’s early years. So activities such as drawing, painting… these wire the brain for successful learning, so ultimately the brain gets the opportunity of developing and getting strengthened,” Rosslee said.
The benefits of incorporating art into your child’s life extends beyond practice, as looking at and examining art can also have a great impact on development.
“It exposes them to a rich and educational environment, it serves as an opportunity to explore the child’s curiosities, children learn a whole new vocabulary when they enter the world of art, they build their cultural awareness, they learn to observe, describe and analyze and interpret the art that’s in front of them, they are utilizing critical thinking skills,” Rosslee said.
As the pandemic continues and we are still confined by social distancing rules, practicing art at home can both keep children busy and help to build more meaningful connections with parents.
For that reason, KidzLoveArt in Dubai will soon launch art boxes for children, which are filled with all the required materials and equipment to work at home.
We spoke to the founder Denise Schmitz about the inspiration behind creating a children’s chapter of her adult-focused company WeLoveArt.
“I really believe, like Picasso, that we are all born as artists, and it is our responsibility as adults to positively nurture that creative spark,” she said.
Schmitz believes that art can help to instil confidence in children, but it is the parents’ responsibility to make that work.
“When you teach children with positivity and encouragement, they will feel safe, confident and proud of every work they create,” she said.
Schmitz said parents can encourage their children by showing admiration for their work and putting it up on display.
Nausheen Shamsher, an independent PR consultant and the mother of 12-year-old Amatullah, said enrolling her daughter with a private art tutor was “the best decision ever.”
“It helped her to refine her work, as well as focus and channel her energies to think out of the box. It has also helped improve her concentration, her approach to things is more positive and she sees and identifies colors and life in everything around her,” she said.
Encouraging children to engage in artistic expression at home can open up their world and help to build more meaningful connections, while they strive to reach their full potential.