Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Creativity and Family Life

A child's hand colouring a picture of a cat, with the title Creativity and Family LifeWhen you first become a parent, no one tells you how arty you suddenly have to be. For some people, this isn't necessarily a problem, but for others, the creative juices can be a little less forthcoming. One theory is that the creative side of the brain is more dominant in some people than others, which leads a proportion of us to relish creative tasks, whilst the rest run screaming for the hills at the merest glimpse of a Pritt stick. No matter how hard you try to avoid messy creative tasks, it becomes much harder once the children start school. It's not just the homework and the art projects, it's the party invites, cards for relatives and endless competitive dress-up days, to name but a few.

This is a collaborative post with Design Bundles

If you have children and don't have a particularly artsy partner who is happy to take the strain, you will be required to get in touch with your creative side a lot, even when the children are not at school. This is actually where the real work begins because it's time to start thinking up different activities for the school holidays. Ones that are so exciting, they will prevent your offspring from vegetating in front of the TV or tablet for longer than is acceptable to the judgy voice in your head. Children love being creative and it comes totally naturally to them, but for a lot of parents, we have to learn to rediscover our imagination and release our inner child. Once you get the hang of it, it can be really fun and a great release from the stresses and strains of adult life, so it's definitely worth practising. The school holidays this year have been a particular strain, with fewer places open for visitors and the children bored out of their tiny minds from already being at home for the preceding few months. This has meant a lot more imagination from parents to ensure everyone is occupied and getting along, as well as meeting the needs of their mental health, which is a particular concern at the moment. 

A half-finished colouring page with two cats, on a table with the sun coming through the window creating a shadow.

It has long been recognised that colouring can help both children and adults cope with feelings of anxiety, so it's a great activity to involve your children in to give them a break from the stresses and strains of everyday life. It's easy to forget that children get stressed and anxious, but it can be pretty tough being a young person in today's world and providing quiet, distraction-free opportunities for your child to open up about their fears and worries can be really useful in helping them navigate their feelings. Colouring is an activity that spans the ages, with a diverse range of subjects and difficulty levels, as well as a wealth of different mediums to colour with, so it can be a lovely task to take part in together. These days, it's no longer necessary to go shopping for colouring books, trying to find one that everyone will like, you can find a selection of different pages to suit everyone and you don't even have to leave your house. All you need is a printer and access to the Design Bundles website. The beauty of this is that you don't end up with a half-finished book that's all tatty and abandoned and you can choose the quality of the paper you print on, which is great if you want to make the finished product into a gift for someone. 

A screenshot of an art journal kit bundle from the Design Bundles website

As your children get older, you will inevitably end up with teenagers. If you've grown one before, or just remember being one, you will probably have noticed that being a teenager presents its own challenges, including being pretty competitive. My teenager has been spending a lot of time online over the last few months, as it's the only way he could communicate with his friends. He and his friends have their own logos and like to spend their days creating 'hilarious' graphics and memes that I just do not understand. Why is Rick Astley suddenly funny? And what is a Pog Fish? His channel is doing so well, that he has recently asked if he can create his own 'merch'. I'm not expecting him to become the next pintsized millionaire, but I did think it might be fun to learn a bit about industry by selling his own designs. On Design Bundles, you can create your own mock ups, allowing you to see how your design is going to look on your chosen product, which is really helpful when you're new to designing merchandise. For example, you might be presented with a t-shirt whose features you can edit, say print, design or colour. The best thing about this is that any change to any feature will only be one click away, allowing you to visualize as many possibilities as you desire in real-time.

A screenshot of a T shirt design mock up form Design Bundles website.

However old children get, encouraging imagination and creativity is great for their self-esteem and confidence, as well as providing a welcome distraction from the pressures of school and growing up in general. It gets harder as they get older to capture their imagination and keep their attention for long and it isn't always easy to find the time to come up with different activities to inspire their creativity. This is where websites such as Design Bundles can prove really useful, as there are lots of resources to start off a creative project; from characters to make into memes, to inspirational quotes for posters and notebooks. As children grow and become more independent, spending time together doesn't necessarily come as naturally, so finding something creative you can both enjoy, and involve younger siblings too, can be a big help in maintaining a healthy, positive family dynamic. Creative activities are really good at encouraging communication and sharing (of both resources and ideas), as well as providing opportunities to talk about issues and generally keep up to date with everyone's news. So it might just be time to dust off your pencil case and get in touch with your inner child, to help your children stay in touch with you. 


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