One of my good friends said recently
‘it is ok for you, your children want to do arts so they cooperate for you!’ .
Well I can honestly say – yes my children do cooperate most of the time. However I can’t truthfulness say when doing Arts and crafts in the beginning, if this was because they love being creative or if It was because they knew they would get my undivided attention when we were doing a project. I am lucky in the fact, I am yet to hear the words ‘I’m Bored’. They have grown to really and truly love being creative in its own right over the years alongside exploring, playing, investigating and thinking outside the box. However in their words :
‘they also associate it with fun time with mummy because she enjoys doing it with us’.
In all honest truth we all know how much attention a child gives to a task depends on whether they are enjoying themselves. Many children struggle when asked to do something they don’t want to do. Stating the obvious ‘Don’t make them paint – if they don’t like painting!’ Give them a choice, as this will empower them. A little creativity from ourselves or them can go a long way in turning something dull into something fun. Instead of insisting that they do it one way, involve them in the decision-making, make it more fun and interesting to them. It can be a great opportunity to test you and your child’s problem solving skills which in turn will improve their attention span.
So the big question we often ask ourselves as parents is ‘ Ok I’ve got their attention, we have found something they wanted to do. But really how do I get my child to sit and concentrate for more than two seconds? – my child only pays attention when they want to and this leads me to losing my patience!’. Well let me set the record straight, It’s not always as perfect as it looks or sounds in those parent books/magazines, websites, blogs or on TV. I sometimes lose my patience and wish I had not bothered. However I tend to find this is down to me!! Choosing the wrong time when Either myself or the boys are not really in the mindset. You know that time when they really want to make … and your just not in the mood, your Mind as a mum has a million things going through it, you’re tired cause you only got four hours sleep last night, there is something else you need to be doing etc. etc. and they have just got to make it right ‘here and now!’
So my advice is choose a time when they can have your full attention –
‘Give attention to get attention’.
To really get a child’s attention the parents must really give their full attention. The best way to get them to pay attention to you or any given activity is to be physically close to the child. Being in close physical proximity whilst giving clear and concise instructions will help the child to focus better on what is being said. Don’t shout request from the kitchen to the living room, go to them, stand in front, make eye contact, be at eye level or touch their shoulder. As a parent give your time, the materials and the space to be creative. The materials don’t need to be fancy, A wide variety of simple materials can stimulate any child’s imagination and can develop their sense of touch. Yes painting can be messy, and it’s not an easy task to clean up but it’s a great activity for sensory development. Talk – having conversations can make it more fun and enjoyable for all. If your child doesn’t talk that easy and you’re stuck for a starting place. A good way to start may be to describe what you see, wait to see if your child responds, they may want to share more with you or just return to their work. You may need to accept that your interrupting may interfere with their working process. When children seem ready to share think of though provoking questions – it will be a great fun bonding experience for you and your child.
Time is so important, giving them your time and the time to do the activity with out to much of a time scale. It is Important to encourage your child to keep going and finish their artwork. However once your child says it finished its finished! Whatever creative masterpiece your child comes up with give your child lots of descriptive praise. Responding and encouraging positively will boost their self-esteem and encourages them to keep going. As I said earlier in another blog children and teenagers are naturally creative. Though their idea of creative maybe different to us as parents. We as adults really do need to accept that. Allow them to do it their way you may be surprised by their ideas! At the end of the day ‘What is art?’ Take time to appreciate their individual applied skills and talents to create something of perceived beauty and worth (even if it’s only in the eye of the beholder). The worth in whatever they have made may be visual or it could be a representation of their emotional opinion, or reflecting a moment in time, style or subject matter.
When we allow our children to paint, draw or make something their own way they can be free with colour, shapes and without technique. From this they will learn to trust themselves and their instincts. Arts and crafts with children allows us to see much more than a simple Art piece. If we observe careful with our eyes and ears. We can gain tremendous information about each child. If they see us having fun, we can create enjoyable experiences, memories and support development at the same time. My boys often surprise me with their thinking and how inventing they can be. Listening to their ideas teaches me so much about their own individual of thinking and ability.
Children love to be spontaneous when being creative, so follow their lead. But be aware there’ll also be times when your child wants you to be more involved in guiding them. By being actively involved, you are not doing it for them, see it as you can develop your child’s skills and understanding even more with words, suggestions and support. It is really important to send the message that there’s more than one way to do something. This lets children know they don’t have to conform to anyone else’s ideas and they can go their own way. It’s ok to make mistakes and we can learn from them
As parents we do have to accept someday you win and they may make amazing masterpieces you can be proud of, whereas other days you will lose and they might just make lots of unconstructive mess. However in their eyes they have had fun making something wonderful that they want you to be proud of. Most importantly they have had fun and may or may not have learnt something along the way. It’s all about having fun and learning about the world around them and not about being perfect every time. Some of the best art in the world is not perfect, it’s all about personal taste. Giving them your attention and letting them do it their way, will allow for strong bonding between yourself and them. In turn they will gain confidence to talk to you about anything, trust you and enjoy wanting to be with you, along side exploring activities.
‘Is it really a big deal if they want to do it their own way?’
emma s xxx