Stuck inside? Here are 5 tips for bringing the arts into your parenting

Stuck inside?  Here are 5 tips for bringing the arts into your parenting
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This paid content was created in partnership with Charlotte Country Day School

Parenting can be a lot like an art project. Some days you’re a masterpiece to be admired… other days just feel like total chaos. But it’s all subjective, right?

Here are a few simple ways to bring creativity into your home with kids of any age.


Don’t overthink it

Kandise Hayes, a 22-year-veteran of teaching art education (18 of which have been with Charlotte Country Day School) says, “Thinking like an artist and seeing the world with all of our senses can be as simple as having a conversation about the colors of the fall trees, or naming the shapes of buildings, or looking at the patterns on your clothes.”

Don’t get caught up worrying about if you consider yourself to be creative or ‘good at art.’ Reframe your thinking to focus on the basics with your kids like line, shape, and color. Anyone can be good at that – and it works for all ages.

Try to have some art supplies always accessible around your home. It can be as simple as some markers and paper, or consider setting up a schedule to try new materials each month. For example, mixed media using winter leaves in February, then experiment with oil pastels in March, markers in April, an art museum visit in May.

It may be about more than you realize

Artists are risk takers; creating art is time well spent and gives your kid a boost of confidence as they experiment. Letting children stretch their mind and muscles in a safe environment sets a foundation for failing, frustration and succeeding as essential parts of the learning process – and life.

Whether it’s functional art like making a blanket for a doll or a ceramic bowl for snacks, it’s an opportunity to see an idea through to reality, and gain an understanding of the work that is involved.

Kandise says, “A tremendous amount of problem solving, fine motor skills, and perseverance are required when working with art materials.”

Art activities can also help you build your kid’s awareness of innovation. Don’t be afraid to discuss their end result as a way to engage… What would you try differently next time? What about it makes you happy?

Creativity can help you communicate

Making time to create together is also a way to practice mindfulness. By taking time to slow down you are giving yourself and your kids the space to be present with each other. Unstructured moments can lead to opportunities for discussion and insight that often don’t get expressed when dashing to the store or soccer field.

Whether age 2 or 12, there’s no right or wrong answer; giving your child an opening to speak for themselves and present how they feel through art is empowering.

Kandise is amazed by what her 3-year-old son shares with her about his art and how much it tells her about what is on his mind. “I try not to guess what he is making, because as adults we tend to want to label things which can be limiting. Before children can write letters and words, they make marks or pictures to represent their thoughts. Sometimes it is just about the physicality of using materials. It’s important to remember that it doesn’t always have to ‘be something’.”

Creating at home allows your child to develop a sense of self and value. Make sure to celebrate their work by hanging it ‘on exhibition’ in your home which will make them feel important. (Keep a few pieces each year, but don’t feel bad about recycling some of it when they are at school or not watching.)

Best local places for kid art supplies

Kandise recommends being thrifty, from cardboard boxes and toilet paper rolls, to bubble wrap and plastic lids – look for texture in your found objects that can be used for printmaking or building recycled sculptures.

Great places to shop include Michael’s Craft Store, Walmart, and Lowe’s for paints, pastels, markers, sharpies, watercolors, and a variety of paper, yarn and wire. Kandise is also a fan of Carolina Clay for all things ceramic, and orders online from Sax and Dick Blick.

Mint Museum

Kid-friendly art experiences in CLT

Kandise says, “The Mint Museum of Art and the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art offer a variety of educational programs and special family days where parents and children can get creative together under the organization and guidance of Museum staff. It’s a great place to make a creative art effort as a family!”

And, fortunately, there is a lot of public artwork in Charlotte, at least 152 pieces in fact – so grab the kids and get out there.

This paid content was created in partnership with Charlotte Country Day School. 

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