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Must-Have Skill for Children #20: Drawing
Just like how studying nourishes the brain and sports nourish the body, artistic activities like drawing can nourish the soul. But there are even more benefits to drawing than that, from practical like motor skills to abstract like creativity. That’s why drawing has been chosen as the Must-Have Skill for Children this month! Whether your child is artistically inclined or not, they should pick up a pencil today and start sketching.
“I think there’s an artist hidden at the bottom of every single one of us.”
What are some other ways that drawing can benefit your child if done as a consistent habit?
Improved Attention and Focus
You may think a child doodling in class means they aren’t paying attention, so they’re missing the entire lesson, but research has suggested otherwise. A psychology professor at the University of Plymouth conducted an experiment in which one group was asked to doodle during a phone conversation; that group retained 29% more information than the control group that only listened. This suggests that the act of doodling was a means of active listening. Drawing may even help with attention spans, memory, studying, planning, and more depending on how it’s used. For example, visual students may benefit from drawing in their planner rather than simply jotting down tasks.
A common problem with children is that they get excited about starting something new, but lose interest and don’t see it to completion. The nice parts about drawing are that they can see the end result unfolding before their very eyes and the work of art is done whenever the artist decides it’s done. It’s easy for your child to fall into a certain workflow, get lost in their artwork, and, before they know it, have a finished drawing that they’re very proud of. This provides them with a sense of achievement and an improved tendency to finish what they start.
“We don’t make mistakes. We just have happy accidents.”
Although there are plenty of artists who seek perfection for their artwork, they are usually masters of their trade. For hobbyists, they may actually be able to fight any perfectionistic tendencies by doodling and sketching freely with no expectations because there are no rewards. Drawing is also about experimentation, erasing, and interpretation, so your child is less likely to be stressed or pressure themselves like when they’re studying for school exams. They can get messy with their drawings and call it a creative work of art that others just don’t understand!
Particularly if your child has a hard time expressing themselves with words, they can consider drawing as an outlet for their emotions and thoughts. If a traditional journal isn’t for them or isn’t enough, your child can pull out a sketchbook whenever they feel bogged down by feelings or thoughts and release all of that onto the pages. Even if they aren’t feeling particularly overwhelmed, drawing is a great way for them to express and explore who they are as individuals. Do they like bright colors? Do they like abstract images? What symbols or themes often pop up in their works? Drawing is a great way to figure all of that out.
Now that we have gone into some of the benefits, you must be eager to help your child hone this incredible skill of drawing. Art may not come naturally for some children, but it’s a matter of experimenting. Help them experiment with different mediums. If drawing with pencil isn’t for them, how about drawing with pens or painting instead? They can also try different types of drawing. Do they prefer something more structural like architecture plans or skylines? Would they rather do something abstract and physical like Jackson Pollock, who is famous for flicking and pouring paint onto large canvases? Do they prefer drawing portraits, and if so, as a form of realism or surrealism? To inspire them, show them all the different artists and artwork out there! You could plan a trip to the museum or watch anything art-related from YouTube tutorials and Bob Ross reruns to documentaries and digital speedruns.
There’s no right or wrong way to start drawing. Get out some paper and encourage your child to draw today! The most important thing is that they start. It doesn’t matter if they’re good or bad—it’s about finding their style and getting better. JEI Learning Center is always emphasizing the process of improvement over immediate results, so we hope your child will pick up this must-have skill and turn it into a lifelong habit that they enjoy!