Many educators understand the importance of the arts for children; being creative can help kids express themselves in a healthy way, boost self-esteem, make social connections, and even do better in school. For children who are living with a disability, however, the arts can be a way for them to learn more about their abilities and improve their confidence while allowing them to explore new paths for learning.
Helping your child get involved in the arts is easy if you know where to start. Look for things your child already shows an interest in, such as dance or visual art, and go from there. It’s also helpful for you to get involved in some way, as well, since parental interest can help kids see that what they’re doing is worthwhile and important. Look for ways you can help your child explore the arts in a way that will help with their specific learning disability, such as drawing or painting to reinforce motor skills and math concepts.
Read on for more great tips on how to help your child get involved with the arts.
Use Music to Help with Memory
Music is often tied closely to memory, which means you can use songs to help your child learn anything from the alphabet to the planets. Whether you choose to sing the song or simply have music playing while you talk about different concepts, music can help your child make connections more easily. For instance, read through a picture book about the planets with your child while a calming tempo plays in the background. Playing an instrument can also help your child express himself and help him learn math concepts more easily.
Consider a Supplemental Art Class
It’s an unfortunate truth that many schools don’t have the funding for arts programs, so it’s a good idea to consider getting your child involved in an art class outside of school. Look for a local tutor or group class that will allow your child to relax, create, as well as reduce the stress and anxiety that can come with living with a disorder like ADHD or a sensory processing disorder. However, don’t limit art to just drawing or painting; there are other avenues of creative expression to explore. For example, you can introduce your child to textile arts, which have an array of positive benefits for children. What’s more, you don’t need much to get started; swing by your local hobby store to stock up on supplies and then head online for some free tutorials.
Head to the Museum
Check with your local art or children’s museum to find out what the exhibits are, and when there’s something on display that your child will be interested in, take a trip to explore. Or, hop online and do a virtual tour, which many museums offer these days. Encourage your child to talk about the things you see and what his favorite pieces are, and suggest that he try to recreate one of them in his preferred medium. Getting creative and finding inspiration in the artwork of others can help kids stop thinking in a linear path.
Encourage Active Play
Getting active and social can help many kids boost their self-esteem, so encourage your child to use dance or theater to express himself. From learning how to speak well in front of an audience to forming stellar communication and listening skills, theater activities can be hugely beneficial for kids who are living with a learning disability. Look for local classes at the children’s theater or simply encourage your child to begin expressing himself physically. Dance is especially beneficial as moving to music can help refine coordination abilities, maintain a healthy weight, and enhance their memory. Salsa is considered one of the most social forms of dance, so it’s a wonderful way to encourage relationships, too.
Helping your child get involved in the arts can be beneficial to him for years to come, so take some time to explore his options and do some research on how to incorporate creativity into his daily schedule. Allowing him to express himself as much as possible will help prevent frustration on his end and will help him both in school and out.