I have always heard that you don’t want to put your kids in a “box.” Meaning, you don’t want to tell them who they are or who they will become.
You just let them be.
But I will be thoroughly shocked if my daughter does not end up doing something creative and artistic with her life.
From the moment she rises until her eyes close for bed she is creating and working on projects.
Paper, crayons, stickers, and paint everywhere. Ribbons cut into pieces. Every scrap material saved for something.
Her process is a bit messy and crazy—but it is hers.
She always has a plan for every item.
Our apartment would be full from floor to ceiling with art if we did not help her manage it.
How do we help her?
Give her space to create
There is a common misconception that creative people are messy and that the mess helps their process. We have found the opposite to be true.
For our kids to be at their best, they need a simple and clean space. They can find the things they need easily and they can clean up easily.
Creating requires lots of open space.
Give her tools to create
Crayons that aren’t broken, sharpened pencils, fresh markers and paints. Lots of white paper. Scissors and glue. White-out for the occasional mistakes.
It does not take many supplies to create an “art studio,” but it does take maintenance. Things will dry out and break and that is okay. I just make sure to check it occasionally and replace items when needed.
Give her time to decide what is trash
Sometimes it is so obvious to us that something is trash. A random piece of cardboard from a shoebox or a piece of rope she found at the park.
But to her it takes time to decide what is trash. She likes to make sure something doesn’t have another use.
I actually love this side of her. She is so resourceful and environmental at times and she doesn’t even realize it.
Sometimes we have to throw it out
Although we often give her the time and autonomy to decide what is trash, we as parents have to make executive decisions too.
If something is clearly broken and dangerous, it is trash.
If we have 20 of something then we need to pare down.
If she hasn’t touched the item in several months it might be trash.
And as far as artwork goes, we have to get rid of some when new art comes in. We got her an accordion file folder for her art and if it fits it can stay!
For her to have the space to create, sometimes other things must go.
I thought the day would come when she would stop creating right away in the morning.
Thankfully, I still hear the art caddy rattle most mornings as she carries it somewhere.
I still find paint blots throughout the house and cups full of mysterious concoctions.
Someday she will have her own space to do what she pleases. Maybe paint the walls and everything else in her path.
But for now, we coexist the best we can and mingle her artistic nature with our simplicity.