Why You Need To Teach Your Child To Draw

19th April 2018

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By Lucy Wyndham

Only a few short years ago the education secretary, Nicky Morgan, said that students studying the arts would be holding themselves back for life. She backed this belief up by slashing funding for arts, humanities and design. 2016 saw a drop of 8% in entries for GCSEs in art and creative subjects. Yet, children from low income families who are engaged in art programmes at school are three times more likely to get a degree and secondary students in general who are involved in art are 20% more likely to vote. Given this and that art allows children to develop fine motor skills and gain confidence, what can parents do to try and encourage children to draw?

Start With Something Simple

Children love to explore the world. From a very early age they enjoy making marks on paper (or any surface they can get their hands on). Infants have no idea about what is considered normal or acceptable so every surface is a canvas, and anything can serve as paint (from poo to peas). In time pressures, fears and social norms start to creep in and children gradually give up drawing; eventually they can start to believe that they cannot draw. With pressure on schools and funding falling away for art it is important that parents do all they can to encourage their children to draw. Getting children re-engaged with art is a delicate thing as knock-backs risk turning them off for life. Start with something simple like following a guide to draw a face.

Get The Right Materials

Children don’t need masses of fine brushes, oil paints and canvas but they do still need a good selection of materials. Piles of scrap paper need to be on hand at all times and can be supplemented with rolls of cheap wall or lining paper. Paints are messy and difficult to master initially but they are still great fun. The most important thing to drive your child’s imagination is colour. Never underestimate the ability of children to surprise you with what they consider to be important. Some children will simply think of the primary colours as important but far more will fight for every possible shade. Just as every Lego piece is far more important than adults realise every shade matters to a child and can help drive their creativity. Make sure you have a lot of colour pencils and felt tip pens on hand to allow them to explore.

What The Real Benefits Of Drawing Are

Despite what Nicky Morgan would have you believe an art education is not a waste. Every leading designer at Apple and Google started their careers as artists. Graphic design is more important than ever in our modern world and it is impossible to get on in this field without being an artist. Art is worth £12.4 billion annually to the UK economy. A daily programme of music activity demonstrated a 78% improvement in the performance of students in core subjects. Starting closer to home though drawing helps you to judge how your child is progressing as well as developing their motor, language, creative and critical thinking skills. Becoming an artist opens your mind to the cultures of the world. Ultimately drawing helps children to become more confident in themselves and that alone should be reason enough to get them started drawing faces today.

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