1. Be a role model. Instead of saying, ” I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler” say, “I love to create!” The process is so much more important than the end product, especially in the early childhood years. If your child see’s you taking risks and trying new things he or she will follow your lead.
2. Verbalize why you “like” a picture. Saying it’s “nice” or “pretty” is not helpful. Explain why you like it and think it’s pretty, ” the colors you used are so bright and make me feel happy” or “I love the way you use lines in your drawing, curvy lines, straight lines, they all look good together”. Using phrases like this will also help your child expand their vocabulary.
3. Don’t only hang your child’s art on the refrigerator. Children know that “real” art is framed and hung throughout the house. Pick your favorite piece, frame it, and hang it somewhere special for everyone to see. You can’t imagine what a self confidence booster this can be!
4. Visit an art gallery or museum with your child. Look at the artwork and talk about it with your child. Don’t worry about being correct in your opinions of the art, just the act of viewing and discussing it will broaden your child’s vocabulary and make them feel more comfortable talking about art.
5. Have an area in your home that can get “messy” with art projects. Remember that most children’s art supplies are washable so even if it gets on the table or floor it’s nothing a little wet rag can’t get rid of.
6. Save your children’s artwork. You can purchase an inexpensive, large portfolio to keep most of their work in. You can also remember that you don’t have to keep everything. However, please remember that your child has more than likely put their heart and sole into their art pieces so if you do choose to “get rid of” it don’t do it in front of your child. They are extremely prolific in their art making, especially at a young age, so unless they show you and are particularly pleased with a certain piece, I feel it’s ok to discard some of it.
7. The holiday’s are a great time to take ALL that art stored up in the portfolio you have and turn them into holiday cards, wrapping paper, decorations and more!
8. Keep a sketch book for your child to draw in. Take it with you on trips and let them use it regularly. It’s a great way to record your child’s growth and development.
9. Let go of your own expectations of how a project should look and be completed, let your child’s imagination do that. Even for an art teacher like myself, when I have an art project in mind it’s hard to not “help” the children so it looks the way I have planned it. However, that is not helping them in their learning experience. Nothing is more rewarding than allowing your child to create and learn on their own and seeing the look of accomplishment on their faces. Not to mention, their end product is generally better than anything you or I could have planned or imagined!
10. Create with them but not for them! Try to act their age and copy what they do, not the other way around. Don’t show your child how to draw a person or circle, let them show you what and how to do. Believe me it’s much more fun to be free like them!