Throughout your child’s life they will show an interest in multiple creative activities at any given time. It can be a challenge though to ascertain what is part of childhood development and what is a spark of artistic flair needing to be encouraged. A love of drawing could indicate the development of hand-eye coordination or a painter in the making. A love of dress ups could be a child playing at life and practicing learnt behaviours or it could be a flair for acting or fashion.
There are things that you as a parent can do to spot their artistic flair and encourage your child’s exploration into finding their own unique creative language.
Here are four things to remember when trying to spot your child’s artistic flair.
Be on the lookout
Be on the lookout for artistic indicators. Perhaps your child picks up tunes or beats easily or they take drawing very seriously, or they love play acting and creating costumes. Creative play is often a part of early childhood development, but you may notice your child’s preference for one creative outlet over another. By identifying these preferences you may be able to encourage the discovery of your child’s own creative voice.
Provide an open learning environment
It is not necessary to enrol your child in classes and sign them up for tutors as soon as you note an area of interest. In some cases signing up for classes too soon may squash the spark of interest before it has had opportunity to develop.
Rather, provide a variety of creative outlets for them to explore. Children take time to develop their personality and as you may have already witnessed they may love something one day and disdain it the next. Providing the space to explore takes the pressure off the child to choose and the expense off the parent whilst they are still discovering what their artistic outlet may be.
Rather than tutors and lessons, try dress up boxes for home performances, craft tutorials from family, friendly YouTube channels, creative journaling to develop writing skills, or family karaoke and music nights. Providing easy creative activities at home can help spot your child’s artistic flair. Excursions to art galleries and museums, musicals and plays will help your child explore possible creative outlets and often in the summer months there are free outdoor concerts and performances that the whole family can attend. Providing a variety of opportunities to play, create and investigate will help your child discover their own artistic voice. Once it becomes clear that it has moved beyond a passing fancy you can take steps to develop and encourage their interest.
Develop and provide encouragement
In the early days of discovery, it can be easy to dissuade children from the path but thankfully it is equally as easy to encourage and fan the flame. Help foster their interests and become their cheerleader. Where possible get involved in their interests.
If your child shows an interest and aptitude for something well outside your wheel-house you may be able to find talent mentors or organise play dates with classmates that share the same interests to help encourage them to pursue an activity. Even if it is outside of your area of expertise, joining in the activity and finding it difficult can help your child realise that the ability they have is special.
Encourage internal satisfaction rather than external validation
Aptitude may not mean interest. It can be difficult when you see something that your child does well but do not to want to pursue. Allow them the space and encouragement to continue their journey.
Conversely, the same applies when there is an interest that they do not have aptitude for but insist they want to learn. Encourage them in their goals and when it becomes clear it isn’t a passing interest bring in the tutors or classes to help them in developing the skills they are struggling with. The pursuit of an artistic outlet when it is difficult promotes a greater inner sense of satisfaction rather than seeking external validation by doing something they can do but don’t necessarily like.
A link has been found between a participation in the arts and higher levels of academic success and personal wellbeing. Whether your child chooses to turn their artistic flair into a career or not shouldn't be the goal. Rather it is opportunity for them to express themselves and discover the world around them and feel a sense of accomplishment within themselves. The beauty of developing their own artistic outlet is that it is uniquely their own.
To discover more about Performing Arts at The Scots College, download our Prospectus.