5 Ways to Get Your Kid into Art & Painting

Art is an ongoing experience and it helps teens (and young kids) express themselves. The best art is a conversation between the artist and the audience, and this conversation happens entirely without words. Connecting your child to art is important and your attitude and approach to art will help shape how your teen thinks about art and the world around them. And while we all know that creating art and painting is a great way to express yourself and build confidence, if it’s not something you’ve done before, getting into art can be a daunting task. 

So how do you get your child interested in art and painting? Here are some test-proven ways.

1. Have Art Supplies Ready

You don’t need a studio, just a corner of a room or even a drawer. Whatever it is, make a dedicated space in your home for your teen to create. Show them where everything is and what it is.

2. Make Art with Them

Lead by example and do it regularly. Even if your teen seems to be too cool for art projects, take some time to make art together. Even if it’s just you painting the first time, they’ll see what you’re doing. Give them time to come around. See if your teen is interested in an art party and invite their friends over for an art party and provide food and painting supplies.

3. Don’t Be Negative

Art requires an open-minded environment to flourish. How you respond to your teens’ art matters. No matter what your teen’s art looks like, find something positive to say about it. Try statements like, “I really like what you’ve done with XYZ.” If they ask for feedback about something they’re struggling with, offer suggestions, but do it in a way that is positive. And remember; this goes for your art too. When you and your teen make art together, avoid the temptation to criticize or put down your own work. If you’re struggling with a part of your art, try statements like, “I’m struggling with XYZ. What would you do to make it more like XYZ?”

4. Explore Different Types of Art

Not everyone can or should paint like Rembrandt. Think of Piccaso. Think of Jackson Pollock. Think of the impressionists, expressionists, the modernists. Each has a very different look and that’s what makes it all wonderful. There are many styles of paintings. Some are made to look like real life, some are made to look like alternate versions of life, some are symbolic, and some are abstract. Google search individual artists and artistic movements and share your findings with your teen. Browse local bookstores and libraries and look at books about art. Remember, your art is yours. It can be any style you want.

5. Make Your Home a Personal Gallery

Find a good-sized, visible wall (or walls) within your home where you want to display your family’s art. Tell your teen you want to display a painting of theirs and a painting of yours in the space. Be sure to include all members of the household. Ask them what they’d like to see in that space. Whenever they make new art, find a place in the home for it. If your teen is prolific enough, you may even cycle paintings out as they create them.

Jenn L. Jacobson is the founder of Nimbus Haus, a voulenteer art program for youth in foster care and LGBTQ+ youth. 


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