Watching my kids create has always been something I love. Before they could even hold a paintbrush, I was letting them play with paint. We would smash a footprint on something and I would turn into something else. We have all turned a handprint into a turkey around Thanksgiving at some point in our lives. As our kids grow and their interests change, their creative process may change. Teen’s will experiment in new creative endeavors, and I believe it is just as important to be present in these efforts, as we were when they were young. We can support our teen’s creative endeavors!
It may look different in the how we support.
When kids are young, some simple ways to encourage their creative efforts may look like…
- Listen to their stories
- Hang up their art
- Watch the amount of screen time they consume
- Make boredom possible, so they have to tap into their imagination
- Provide supplies from paper and drawing materials to blocks or legos
- Plan a project with steps
- Get them outside to explore the woods and dirt
- Be present in showing and demonstrating.
When our kids were younger, I had these frames that I could easily switch art out of. It was a constant changing museum in our home.
As they began to grow, they would have their own projects and ideas.
Once they start dreaming up their own ideas, you begin to become a little more of a questionnaire than the one leading the charge. Asking lots of questions gets them processing. Not all their ideas will work, but by asking questions and letting them start to play with an idea, allows your child to figure out on their own if something will work or not. That is embracing the process and letting them grow as confident decision makers.
I will never forget how Caleb painted a cityscape at our studio. It led into us hosting several cityscape sign workshops. He even lead one! Letting his idea develop into something that then inspired other artists and peers was pretty special.
I have to believe that supporting his creative endeavors at this new stage helped encourage him to keep experimenting and doing art.
We all remember when we started feeling like our art wasn’t good enough.
Do you remember that moment that you stopped creating for the process and fun of bringing an idea to life? You started creating and working towards a finished product only if you knew it would be amazing and it would be useful? So many stop creating because of the pressure they feel in creating and lose the freedom to tinker, learn, make mistakes, develop and take a risk.
One of our jobs as parents is to keep encouraging the process and supporting their creative endeavors as they grow.
As Caleb has grown, his love for basketball and shoes has only grown as well. He started drawing shoes, designing shoes, filming shoes and even painting his own custom shoes.
What began as an interest slowly grew into a hobby, and now it is a full blown business.
As Caleb’s dedication to this interest grew, we saw him investing time and his own money into it. Those are all signs that this is something that really matters to him.
My encouragement to you is to not necessarily buy the next piece of equipment the minute an idea is born from your growing teen, but keep asking questions and grow in the interest as they do.
We helped loft Caleb’s bed, so he would have more work space. It didn’t happen over night, but one step at a time.
Caleb says on his website, “I did my first custom a couple of years ago and loved doing it. Back then I had a cheap battery powered airbrush and a couple of colors. I’ve been working hard to upgrade my skills and my gear to professional grade tools. Every sneaker is an exciting new opportunity and I’d love to create some for you. Hit me up on the contact page or check out my Instagram.”
I still love to watch this kid of mine create.
Now, it’s not as much of me setting up a creative project and inviting him in. It’s more of me wandering to his room and watching him do it. The how we support our teen’s creative endeavors can change, but not the why.
A lot of the ways you support your young artists still matters as they grow.
Let them hang their art. Be present in the journey and listen to the stories. There are new ways to encourage their creative endeavors as well. My two biggest encouragements would be one, help invest in the equipment if you can. It can be lofting a bed, sharing your computer and camera, or even buying a stencil machine and spray gun. You can always get creative in how you give it. For example, wrap it up as part of their birthday present. Caleb got one of his paint guns as a Christmas present one year.
Find a way to connect your interests together.
It’s important that your teen feels supported in their creative endeavors to feel the freedom to keep developing. The second way I think it is important to encourage your artist is to combine your interests and theirs together. Find it. It might not be obvious at first. That’s ok, keep looking. My latest way to connect Caleb’s interests and mine is taking the pictures he took of his shoe designs and turning them into greeting cards.
I have been on this greeting card creation journey, and what a fun way to connect his art with mine for a new card design. Not everyone may want a pair of custom shoes, but they may know someone who is a shoe fanatic and would appreciate a fun card so I listed them in my store.
We can support our teen’s creative endeavors.
The heart behind encouraging your artist, growing teen, and child is that you want them to believe that their ideas matter and the world needs what they got. Maybe those interests turn into a job someday, like they did for Caleb. We just don’t know, but the beautiful impact of embracing this creative journey together is you grow a deeper connection with someone who matters most to you.
I am going to be sharing more ways to connect with yourself and those you love most real soon. If you are interested in learning more, join my newsletter today so you are the first to hear about it!