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Source: Search Institute

Fast Fact: Youth are more likely to grow up healthy when they spend three or more hours per week in lessons or practice in music, theater, or other arts.

Mention painting, many people think of Picasso. Mention music, and Beethoven, Mozart, or the Rolling Stones come to mind. Rarely do we think of ourselves-or our children-as painters or musicians. Yet, all of us are artists in some way. We think of creative ways to surprise someone on her or his birthday. We hum a few notes along with the radio. We do a skip dance when we’re in a good mood. These small bursts of artistic expression are important ways we communicate our uniqueness. By bringing more art and music into our homes, we can help to develop another side of our children’s personalities, talents, and skills.

Some ways to do this:

  • Become clothing critics. During a shopping trips, critique the colors, designs, and patterns you see on clothes.
  • Play magnet art. Visit a museum together and walk toward the first painting that really catches your eye (draws you to it like a magnet). Let family members each explain what they like about the painting they chose.
  • Incorporate the discipline of art. Have your child take music or art lessons. Have the family father around the piano or guitar once a week and sing. Or make time daily to sing, dance, do an art project, or do a humorous creative skit.
  • Welcome the ‘noise’ your child makes when practicing an instrument-treasure the moments when you hear her or him being creative.

Time together: Three ways to enhance music, art, or theatrical training with your child:

  1. Together investigate which artistic abilities are evident in our family history. Discuss which ones your child seems to have an interest in and talent for.
  2. Tour the arts in your home. Talk about the art on the wall, the music you listen to, and other signs of art.
  3. Look in your community phone book for theaters, museums, or other cultural organizations. Choose one to visit.

Talk together: Questions to discuss with your child:

  • Which do you enjoy most: music, art, theater, or dance? Why?
  • If you could take private lessons, what would you take? Why?
  • How can we incorporate the cultural arts more into our lives?

Reprinted with permission from Ideas for Parents, Newsletter #22, copyright 1997 by Search Institute, Minneapolis, MN, 1-800-888-7828. All rights reserved.