As a parent, your primary job is to keep your kids safe, healthy, and happy. But in addition to these ever-important tasks, you also want to show your children how to be comfortable in their own skin, how to show off their talents, and how they can find ways to express themselves.
Think about it. Some of the world’s most successful people have been those who have a radical sense of themselves, and aren’t afraid to show it. Lady Gaga, David Bowie, and Gianni Versace are just a few.
But how do you encourage your kids to express themselves without telling them how to? One of our favorite methods of self-expression is giving kids fun DIY projects —just anything that will help them be resourceful and creative on their own. But the truth is, you have to allow your young artists and intellectuals to find their own way. Here are a few ways to guide your kids to be their best selves through art and expression.
Create space for sharing
Sharing your artwork, thoughts, and feelings can be scary at first. That’s why it’s so important for parents to create an open, safe space for their children to be vulnerable. Now this space doesn’t have to be a tangible room where they’re able to share their emotions, but it’s more of a figurative space for them to feel safe doing so.
Establishing an open line of communication between yourself and your kids is essential if you want them to feel comfortable in the outside world. But even if you assure your kids that they’re free to be whoever they want, there are some things they just might not want to talk about with their parents. In that case, setting up professional counseling sessions could be a good way to encourage them to speak their minds.
And if they take a liking to express themselves through word, perhaps ask them if they want to sign up for creative writing courses or a poetry reading at school or at a local community group.
Provide creative materials
If you provide your kids with the materials they need to communicate through art, chances are they’re more likely to do so. Head over to your local arts & crafts store to start curating the materials they need. If you’re not sure where to begin shopping, here’s a guide to get you started.
- If they like to paint, pick up a few art canvases of different sizes, along with a set of brushes and paints
- If they like to build with their hands, grab some clay, a rolling pin, popsicle sticks, and some stamps to imprint onto their designs
- If they like to draw, some drawing paper and shading pencils are a great place to start
Try not to focus on trends
Being a kid can be tough, but being a tween or a teenager is even more challenging. Besides new responsibilities and changes, you also become much more aware of what everyone else is doing from fashion to extracurricular activities. To ensure your child preserves that sense of self that makes them so unique, you should put more focus on individuality rather than trends. While you might not want your little one to be walking around in a superhero costume all of the time, it wouldn’t hurt to allow them to dress themselves once in a while. This way, they’ll have a knack for letting their personality and style shine from a young age!
Lead by example
When it comes to teaching your kids to be themselves, it’s important to lead by example. Show them that it’s okay to be different and that when it comes to designing and creating art…being different is actually encouraged!
As your child grows, find different ways to show them how they can be their most unique self by being unafraid to show off their own quirks. Or, find opportunities to do art with your child, whether it’s getting them involved in local cooperative competitions, taking art classes together, or even something as simple as doing fun DIY Crafts together at home.