The Benefit of Artistic Hobbies (and How to Get Started) Words by Lillian Brooks

The arts have an incredible ability to facilitate creativity, self-expression, and personal development. Dancing, music, drawing, painting, and theatre are invaluable for healthy child development. More specifically, art-based hobbies have unique and diverse benefits for children with developmental disabilities. Artistic hobbies can help children communicate, reduce stress, and build self-confidence. If you are looking to enhance your child’s personal development and learning, consider an art-based hobby.

Start Small

While one child might love dance, another might be passionate about painting. Starting small ensures your child is not overwhelmed by the new hobby. During this “trial period,” be aware of the difference between hesitation and outright dislike. Children can be hesitant to try something new but may learn to love it. Explain that they do not have to continue doing it if they don’t like it. If your child becomes upset or angry at the mention of a particular activity, this might not be the right hobby for them. Gently encourage them to try the hobby a few times before giving it up completely. If you are sure your child will love a particular art-based hobby, consider investing in a few small items to get started. This special gift can help ensure your child has a positive relationship with the activity from the start. A set of paintbrushes, paint, and a canvas could be the start of a lifelong hobby. As your child gets started, offer encouragement for their hard work and limit constructive recommendations. After all, this is their hobby, not yours. 

Get Connected

Children with learning disabilities often have difficulty developing social connections such as making friends or engaging in conversation. Hobbies are a great way for children to bond with peers over a unique interest. Once you and your child have identified a hobby, research opportunities in your community. Art classes, music lessons, dance studios, and theatre clubs can help your child build self-confidence as well as social skills.

If you can’t find a suitable class, consider starting one of your own! There may be other people who are looking for something similar. If you decide to strike out on your own and begin teaching classes, make sure you’ve taken the proper steps to set up your business. Not only should you create a solid business plan, but you should also understand the requirements to legally register your business. Each state has its own regulations; if you decide to register as an LLC in Florida, for example, you’ll need to know what you need to do to properly set things up. Once you have all of this squared away, you can begin sharing your love of the arts with others.

What Do They Already Love?

If your child loves listening to the radio, humming, or singing, a music-based hobby might be right for them. Alternatively, if coloring books have always been a household necessity, your child might benefit from drawing or painting-based hobbies. During the hobby selection process, try to involve your child. Giving children the responsibility to make small choices can help them develop personal responsibility and self-confidence. When children are given the power to choose their hobby, they are also more likely to stick to it. The more they love their hobby, the more likely it will provide them with a healthy outlet for stress, frustration, and sadness. Developing healthy outlets now may help your child avoid unhealthy outlets such as drugs or excessive alcohol consumption later in life. Remember, all artistic hobbies are valuable so don’t stress about finding “the perfect hobby.”

Personality, Skill Set, Challenges

Hobbies are meant to be fun and rewarding, not stressful and overwhelming. Because of this, it is important to take into consideration your child’s personality, skill set, and unique challenges. For example, reading music notes may be particularly challenging for children with dyslexia or other visual processing challenges. That being said, small challenges can be beneficial to your child’s personal development. Theater, for example, is a great learning opportunity for children who are shy, have difficulty socializing, or want to enhance communication skills. The right hobby will be fun, rewarding, and challenging.

Artistic hobbies have a never-ending list of benefits for children with developmental disabilities. If you are looking for a unique way to help your child grow and learn, an art-based hobby can help. The best part, the list of potential artistic hobbies is endless! It is never too early or too late to work with your child to develop an artistic passion.

Visit Big Abilities for support and helpful resources that encourage children with developmental disabilities to discover their strengths and overcome obstacles.

Words by Lillian Brooks of Learning Disabilities Info

You can contact Lillian at lillian@learningdisabilities.info

LearningDisabilities.info was created to offer information and understanding to parents of children with learning disabilities, as well as adults who are in need of continued support to succeed.

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Amy Nielsen lives in Orlando, Florida. She is the proud mother of four children ranging in age from 5-33! She and her husband, Brent enjoy sports and traveling. Amy is a former teacher with nearly 20 years of experience, a freelance writer, and a special needs advocate. Her mission is to help educate and empower families of children with disabilities to focus on their child's interests and strengths.