Parent-child bonding through the world of art. Photo credit: Manasi Gadkari
Contributor: Bhumika Vikam, Staff Writer
“At the end of the day, your feet and hands should be dirty, your hair messy, and your eyes sparkling.” – Shanti
What other than art will do justice to this eloquent quote? Art, about which we have previously read in the article ‘Why is art good for your child?’ is considered as the smile of the soul. It is always said; whatever is good for your soul, do that. For little children, art is seen as a very vital part of growing up and having a joyful childhood.
Children are born lovers of art and imagination and when parents join them in for this glee, their happiness has no boundaries. We live in a world where each of us has a hectic lifestyle. To be able to give children good quality time and ensuring what is best at that time is a question for many parents. Most parents are in search for ideas that do not just keep children brilliantly engaged but also maximise the time spend with them. Art is one such thing that offers a perfect avenue to associate both together. Art lets children pick up a vast array of abilities and parents play a very crucial role in this because they are the motivators and many times the mentors for the same.
Parent-child bonding is a special intimacy that develops between the parent and the child and is enormously important for a child’s development. This relationship and bond is their first and will affect all their future ones. Thus comes in the need to bond in a ‘good enough’ way with your child.
Now that we know the importance of both art and bonding for children, we now need to find ways to combine both of these ie to find ways to bond with your child through the aid of art.
1.Preparing for the ‘You and Me Time’:
The ‘You and Me Time’ is the first step towards any type of bonding. As a parent, firstly you need to take some quality time out of your hectic schedule. This time must be for you and your child solely. It must be ensured that there are no other disturbances during this time. Another important criterion is to be consistent with this time ie keep the day and timing fixed.
2. Creating the box:
Since we are choosing art as the tool to bond, it is necessary to create a box: a box full of happiness and colours. This box that you create, though simple, must have the power to bring that joy on your child’s face each time he/she opens to. It must have all the needed materials for the child to happily indulge in art: Paints, brushes, colours, papers: whatever excites the child.
3. Let the child lead:
Any play or art activity that a child and parent do together, must be child-led. The child should be the one who leads the activity and initiates it. For example if the activity is painting a flower vase, it is the child who should choose the colours and brushes etc. and initiate the painting.
4. Keep motivating
It is always said, “Motivation is what gets you started”. When a child gets the motivation to do a particular activity by his parent, he finds it worth doing. Keep motivating the child to indulge in art even when there are times that he feels low or down to keep it going. Praising along with motivation can do wonders.
Exclusive art time with your child helps instil feelings of empathy & acceptance in your child.
5. ‘Draw their feelings’ exercise
This is an exercise which is a very useful exercise to help the child regulate. Simply ask the child to draw his/her feelings: Whatever he/she is feeling at that moment. The child must be allowed to himself/herself choose the colour of the crayons, pens, paint or paper and draw the present time feeling. To take an example, If the child is angry, he will end up scribbling big lines or circles and once done, will feel much calmer. This will not just regulate the child’s feelings, but will also make the child feel that he has been given his space to put forth his feelings.
No matter how unpleasing the final creation is, accept it with love because it is the inner self-expression of your child. Praise the child for his/her inner self-reflection. This will fill him/her with positivity and make your bond stronger.
Emotionally join with your child while making art. Laugh when they laugh, validate them when they cry, and encourage them when they are frustrated. Making art is not easy and can provoke a variety of emotional responses, support your child through them. This will help your child form a secure attachment to you.
Get messy and connect through the fun of the art-making process. After making the art, you can use it to play with your child. Become a child while working with a child. Create the mess with them, make things which your child likes and use them for the next playtime or ‘You and Me Time’.
Pablo Picasso says, ‘Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life’ Indulge in art with your child, not just to bond but also to relish and cherish those lively moments.
Create a mess with them during art and enjoy the time. Photo credit: Manasi Gadkari
This is a part of our curated content for Dot-to-Dot Art School Children’s Exhibition held in November 2017. This content was a part of our talk for parents over a two-day art exhibition by children.
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