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How to be an Artful Parent

June 13, 2016

How to be an Artful Parent

Encourage open-ended exploration period. Of everything, not just art. This includes ideas, construction, toys, art activities, and pretend play.

Assume your children are highly creative (they are) and treat them as such. Talk to them as creative beings and offer creative activities and opportunities, both those that they love and those that stretch them.

Model creativity. And if you don’t feel creative, you know the saying—“Fake it till you make it.”

Look at the world in new ways together. Try a new lens for viewing the details around you, such as a loupe, binoculars, a microscope, or a telescope. Experience different viewpoints, through museums, books, travel, hands-on activities, and interaction with others.

Let them be bored. Or at least don’t always jump in with an activity or screen time just because the kids say they are bored. Sometimes the best creativity is on the other side of boredom.

Offer creative activities, materials, and opportunities regularly. This can include art invitations, strewing, projects to do together, child-led art in their own art space, open-ended toys to play with, and more.

Artful parenting and living encompasses all aspects of life. It’s not just about doing art activities. It’s cooking together, gardening together, reading beautiful books, conversing, playing games, going on nature walks, holding hands and connecting.

Celebrate the seasons and holidays throughout the year. Notice the changes in the world around you day to day, week to week, month to month. Pay attention to the little things—the bird song in the morning, the patterns of light and shadow in the newly-leafed out trees, the scent of the flowers.

See each child as a unique being with his own interests, learning style, and personality. Nurture the individuality, rather than expecting him to conform to who you are or who society expects him to be.

Be the best parent you can be and don’t beat yourself up when you fall short of your ideal. Every day, every moment, is a fresh opportunity to parent the way you want to.

Okay, my friends. This artful parenting business is a work in progress, even for me. You and I both know that we don’t need to do all that all the time. The last tip there—be the best parent you can be—is the most important.

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