Cousins

Some of my fondest childhood memories include time with my cousins.  I have lots of them, but most are not my age.  Older cousins, much like older siblings, often do not wish to do stuff with the younger ones.  My parents are both the next to youngest in large families.  I have 37 cousins.  It is awesome.   Most of them are now grandparents, like myself, and some are great grandparents.  And so the family keeps expanding. 

Close to my age I have more boy cousins than girl cousins.  A couple of those boy cousins were great.   Some I adored, and loved every opportunity to spend time with them.   I had a favorite older boy cousin whom I loved to chase and try to count his freckles.   Confession: I really just wanted his attention.  

Once, and only once, I rode in the backseat with a bunch of other cousins (no seat belts) while another favorite, and very wild, boy cousin was driving us down the state highway. While driving opened his door and pretended to be looking under the car.  He received his desired response of us all screaming hysterically.  I am sure none of us told our parents about that adventure. 

Most of my cousin time was harmless and safe.  It was just a few days or a week spent at their house or my house or the best was at Grandma’s house.  We didn’t do great or elaborate or expensive activities.  We just spent time playing together, or maybe swimming or fishing or bicycle riding.  These visits became the highlights of our summer and school breaks.  

Kids need time to play.  Kids need time with their cousins becoming friends.  Of course, this is extra work and effort for parents and grandparents, but it pays such rich lifetime rewards. 

When our children and their spouses and their children gather, there are 29 of us.  The 17 grandchildren range in age from 17 years to 5 weeks old.  I am thankful they adore being together and I am certain that is at least in part because of the times the cousins get together.  Texting has also helped them keep connected with each other.

Cousins

I still love seeing my cousins.  We have much to reminisce over.  We have a family love bond.  We share a heritage. We share stories.   Relationships with cousins is a great legacy to give to your children.

Pandemic Ponderings

I want to share a few thoughts on our current crisis. Focus is challenging. Sorting through all the information is challenging.  Communities, states, and nations are fearful and stressed.  Your household is under strain.  Your workplace and your children’s schools are closing and making changes.  Your calendar has been changed.   I wish to impart some hope.

First, God is still God, almighty, all-knowing, merciful and loving. This crisis is not a surprise to Him.  I don’t know why he has allowed it.  I know He will never abandon us or forsake us.  As we trust and lean on Him, He will help us. This crisis is just one more thing we do not need to do on our own.

Second, this too shall pass. Anytime I have to face a painful situation, I remind myself that it has an ending and God will help me through it.  Actually, it won’t be long and I will already be looking back on it. Time is like water we can’t hold it in our hands.  Think back to a recent anticipated big event you planned for and waited and waited for it to arrive. It did. How far back was it?  Funny how time keeps marching.   Some day we will also look back on Covid-19.  What stories will you be telling about how you went through it?

Third, embrace the challenges as a family.  Discuss the situation with your children.  Allow them to express their fears and questions.  If your social calendar has just been cleared and your children are suddenly on extended (indefinite) spring break, then you have been given a rare opportunity for family time.  Use the time well.  Brainstorm together for ideas of together activities such as: a big puzzle, read books aloud, repeating favorite movies, outside yard time, plan/plant a garden, cooking together, board games, shared electronic games, letter writing, phone calls to neighbors and friends.  Also plan 30-60 minutes of quiet, alone time for everyone every day.

Last, the human spirit is resilient. Troubles also present opportunities.  We will invent and create ideas and things as a result of this crisis.  Your family will discover ways to cope and economize (perhaps out of necessity).

Be loving and patient with each other.  Spread hope.

Parent & Adult Child Conflict

What can a parent do when their adult child makes a choice or decision with which they disagree, even strongly disagree?  How about whole-heartedly oppose? The short answer is: Nothing.  The longer answer requires a story.

Before I tell the story, I want to always encourage you to frequently and repeatedly communicate love, support, and acceptance to all your children of all ages.  This does not mean a parent will always agree with their child’s choices and decisions. 

As a child grows and matures, they need to make more and more choices and decisions for themselves.  A young child needs limitations and guidance.  A parent may offer a 3-year-old child two outfits from which to choose to wear for the day.  An older child should be able to choose from within their wardrobe with consideration to the weather and occasion. Making little decisions allows use of personal preferences and leads to the ability to make bigger decisions.

As our children age, we relinquish more and more daily control. As our children age, we grant more and more freedom to them.  We must keep our goal of raising independent adults ever in our mind.  Giving up control over our children is not easy. Some children grab for that independence and freedom and others are reluctant and need urging.

When we strongly disagree with our adult children we can discuss, disagree, argue, cry, plead, beg, or manipulate.  I am guilty of all of these. It all failed.  I tried it all last spring for many weeks when my youngest son informed us that he planned to change his last name.  It is not immoral.  It is not illegal.  It is not unsafe.

I thought it unwise. He would have legal and life-long consequences.  I could not understand.  He and his fianceé who married in May 2019 would both be taking each other’s last names creating a new hyphenated name.  They saw this as embracing and honoring both families.  It felt dishonoring to us.

When I make a decision or a choice, I think my parents or someone else will disagree with, I usually just don’t tell them about it.  I choose the peaceful (cowardly) way.  But some choices cannot be kept to ourselves.  Some decisions will be known to all.

After all my attempts failed to talk him/them out of this choice, I turned to praying for them. I asked God to change their minds.  Prayer is actually my best parental tool.  As is often the case when we pray for someone, God changed my mind and attitude about them.  Here is what I believe God gently said in my mind to me: “You have not asked me what I think about them doing this.  I have called them ‘My Child’, because that is their name.”

I have learned not to argue with God.  He is always correct.  I was corrected. I had to let go.  I could not control them.  I could love them.  I could choose to live in a relationship with them.  When relatives have questioned me about their decision, I have shared this story.  It is their decision.  I love my kids.

Are your children squirrely?

Are your children being squirrely?  Are you feeling squirrely?   As a homeschooling mom for 30 years, I want to assure this is a normal feeling.  Every year as May arrived, I felt done and the children were completely distracted. 

We choose to be a homeschool family.  It was a great adventure, privilege and responsibility. But every year when May arrived, I felt the same. I was weary and ready for the school year to come to completion. 

The distance education to which families are being forced to participate is not the same as homeschooling. Yes, you are actively involved in fulfilling their teachers’ lessons and assignments at home.  But you did not choose your curriculum, you did not make the lesson plans, and you cannot adjust the assignments to best suit your child.  You did not withdraw your child from their traditional classroom by choice and plan.  It was thrust upon you without even consulting you.  You are not experiencing the typical freedom, individuality or variety that is part of homeschooling.  You were not prepared. 

 In addition to schooling, parents are also dealing with other adjustments such as spending all day every day with each other.  This is a BIG adjustment.  Homeschooling families have developed strategies for this such as outside play and/or a daily hour of quiet for everyone.

Either or both spouses may be trying to work from home. Continual interruptions can be very frustrating. The house is probably messier because everyone is there All. The. Time.   Parents who are always homeschooling teach and train each child to do daily chores for the benefit of the whole family.  This is not a sudden lifestyle change for parents or children.

Financial pressure and social distancing are also challenging for homeschool families.  This is added stress.  Homeschooling usually includes lots of fieldtrips and hands-on or active learning.  Homeschool families just like their public and private school contemporaries are involved in community events, sports, clubs and activities. No one is doing any of these. The lack of items on our calendars which we are happily anticipating is a loss.  We grieve losses.  Allow yourself to grieve but don’t stay there.

Math seems to be the subject I hear the most moaning and complaining about.  Jumping into a math course three quarters through the year is going to be difficult at almost any grade level.  It is likely your child is learning different methods and problem-solving strategies than you learned in school.   I recall being totally flustered over a 3rd Grade math curriculum that I choose.  I was shocked.  Eventually I did understand it and still think it is brilliant.  I also learned that drawing simple pictures helped me address story problems.  I think I did well with teaching math through 9th grade, but after that we relied on my husband.  You too may need a tutor – perhaps a relative or a friend could assist electronically.  

When my oldest son was ready for Geometry I was nervous because I did so poorly in it myself as a high school student.  I discovered it finally made sense to me.  About half way through the course my son gently said to me, “Mom, I really can do this by myself.  You are slowing me down.”   I was happy for his ability, but sad for myself because I knew I would not work on it on my own if I didn’t need to do it with a student.

In traditional classrooms students sit at desks.  With homeschooling individual desks may or may not be used.  Students may show up in pajamas and lots of work is done with teacher and students in a huddle on the sofa.  I often grouped 2-4 of my children into one class even though they were each at a different grade level.

In Conclusion:

  1. All students are in the same situation of suddenly doing school at home.  Some will accomplish more and some less than others.  That is ok.  This happens in the classroom too.
  2. You have a very unique and special privilege of this time with your children.  Treasure them. 
  3. I found myself learning alongside my children every year that I homeschooled.  You can too.
  4. The pandemic will end someday.  We will probably discover new normals.
  5. Experienced homeschoolers have Very Bad Days too. I remember putting myself in timeout.
  6. Take time to do something fun every day, even if it is just for a few minutes.
  7. Go outside. 
  8. Forgive yourself for your failures. Ask forgiveness from your children when appropriate. Give and receive grace.  
  9.  Be grateful every day.

Grandma & Grandpa, please come

My daughter suggested I write something based on my recent visit with her and to the home of my #2 son and their families.  Both homes have newborns.   These baby girls have increased our number of grandchildren from 14 to 16. Hooray!  Usually when my daughter, or a daughter-in-law (I have 4), gives birth I try to support them by going to their home.  This is my joy and pleasure.  I have made some big mistakes and learned a few things in these 17 years of grandparenting and 20 years of being a mother-in-law.

First don’t make assumptions, but ask if they would like you to come and stay awhile.  Ask when they want you to come and for approximately how long.  Ask how they think you can best help them.   Each family may have very different answers.

When you go, consider these suggestions.

  • Shut up.  Don’t criticize or critique their parenting, housekeeping, marriage or anything else.  None of this is giving help.  Don’t offer advice unless it is requested.
  • Speak up. Give words of encouragement and genuine compliments.  Ask questions such as, “Would it be helpful if I _____________?”    Verbally encourage any older children to respect and obey their parents.  Never undermine their parenting.
  • Go with the flow.  While at your child’s home eat what they eat.  Follow their schedule.  I am lousy at going to bed before midnight, but I can be very quiet and don’t need much light. Don’t be disruptive.  
  • Pitch in.  Help them by assisting to make their schedule work for them. Pay attention to things like chore charts, calendars, and time schedules.  Be generally helpful. Find something to do, such as:  Cook, do dishes, go shopping, vacuum, do laundry, cut the grass, shovel snow, do general pick up and include any older children.   
  • Engage with the children. Holding newborns is wonderful, but doing stuff with the older children is just as important.   What can you do with them? 1. Sing songs and tell nursery rhymes with hand motions. 2.Play games (last week my 7-year-old granddaughter beat me in 3 out of 4 games of Candy Land and all 4 games of Monopoly Jr.)  3. Read aloud.  4.Assist with homework or schoolwork. 5. Have conversations and tell stories about when their parents were little.  (from my #1 son I learned to ask: “what was the best part of today?”) 6. Watch a movie. 7. Play outside. 8. Go on an adventure. (missing from this list is playing video games because I just don’t like to do that)
  • Keep your stuff to yourself.  As a guest in someone’s home, you may have your own room and you may not, but try to keep your stuff as neat as possible and not all over the house.  If sleeping on a sofa, fold up your bedding every day.  If possible, keep your bath towel and toiletries in your room/space.

But, you the reader of this, may not be a grandparent. Perhaps you are the parent of little ones and needing a visit from your parents.  Why not discuss this post or parts of it with them? It might give you both an opportunity to express your appreciation of each other to each other. 

Time spent with parents, grandparents and grandchildren is valuable to all generations. Grandparents need the pure joy, enthusiasm and energy of the grandchildren.  Grandchildren need the love, attention, and wisdom of grandparents.  Parents just need a nap. 

Adjustments

Last Spring my husband and I moved to a new house in a new town in a different part of our state.  I have lived in Illinois my entire life starting in Chicago, then the western suburbs.  Nine years ago we moved to the middle of the state to a city of 75,000 people.  That was quite an adjustment.

People in Chicago consider all Illinois territory south of Interstate 80 to be southern Illinois. People in central Illinois do not view themselves as being in southern Illinois.  Perspective can be very interesting.   Now we truly live in southern Illinois in a town with a population of only 17,500.  When we moved to central Illinois our youngest child was in high school and he moved with us.  He didn’t make this move with us.   He and his bride are living several states away from us.

I feel we are still adjusting to our new small town.  Less traffic is awesome.  But we are further away from 4 of our 5 children.  Actually two of our tribe have made out of state moves since we moved. We have three Dairy Queens and two McDonald’s in this town but only one Aldi, one Kroger and one Walmart.  There is one movie theatre and the mall has been closed.  During the summer the public pool was closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.  The other days of the week it was open from 1-4 p.m.  It was not crowded and it had a fun water slide.  My grandsons loved it.

We do not yet have a new doctor or dentist. We have found a new church to attend and in which to be involved. It is only 3 miles from our front door. This church is on the “edge” of town and we are “in the country”. Therefore every time we leave home and head “into town” we keep our eyes on the prowl for deer. Since the beans and corn fields have all been harvested it is easier to spot them.

To be near my aging parents was our reason for this move.  They have increasing health needs and so do we.  They have been extremely happy about our arrival and helpful in many ways.  Even though we chose to make this move and are glad we have done so it has been an adjustment.  Because they have lived here for nearly 30 years this is a community with which we were already familiar.  We have entered another season of life.  This also is an adjustment. 

Life is full of seasons and adjustments. Some we make willingly and with much anticipation and excitement.  Others are thrust upon us whether or not we feel prepared or desire the change.  We are all continually changing and adapting.  Some of us see this as a thrilling adventure and some see it as frightening.  Each of your children has their own view as well.   If you are making changes, such as a move or perhaps adding a new member to the family, remember that adjusting can be a struggle not only for you but also for your children. 

Be patient with each other.  Often when a small event causes a big break down other things need to be addressed besides the small event.   Sometimes stopping all the activity is needed to decompress.  Here are just a few ideas to assist with stress:  be alone, be with someone, go outside, take a walk or a bike ride, sit on a swing, be quiet, listen to favorite music, cuddle, take a break from the task but with a plan to return to it, talk about it, ask for another perspective, and reconsider.

Just as climate seasons come and go so do life seasons.  Each season has an ending to be followed by a new season.  If one takes a moment to reflect on the many seasons they have experienced, then one will begin to understand the speed of life. Try to enjoy each season.

How I went past my excuses

Life has conveniently given me the excuses I needed to not write.  The excuses allowed me to ignore the real issue. Insecurity.  Self-doubt. Discouragement.

First, the life excuses. I have not written a blog post since February 6, 2019.  In the meantime we decided to move south 180 miles to be nearer my parents, bought a house, moved, sold a house, and had two garage sales,(one at each house).  Additionally, our youngest son got married out of state.  We took a 1000-mile (each way) road trip to my niece’s wedding in Florida.  Two uncles have passed away. And we hosted a family reunion at our new home. I have lost track of how many trips we have made to how many of our children’s homes.  Our five children presently live in five different states.  Only one lives in the same state in which we live, but even he is 345 miles away.  All of our children have come to see us. Hooray for family togetherness. Yes, I have been extremely busy, busy, busy.

Us at our son’s wedding.

Secondly, the insecurity.  When I listened to the conversation in my head, I heard statements such as,

“It doesn’t matter that you are too busy to write, no one is interested anyway.”

“You are out of things to say.”

“You are out of touch with today’s young parents and their culture.”

“You are too old to talk about parenting.”

“You have lost your readership.”

“This isn’t the type of writing you wanted to do. Why continue?”

“The reward is not worth the cost. What reward? Am I so insecure I need a reward?”

“Do I make a difference?”

On and on it snowballed.

Finally, the encouragement.  It came to me from an unexpected source. He wasn’t talking to me or about me but it applied to me. I heard Rush Limbaugh on the radio talking about Millennials and their struggles with “adulting”.  It was a generalized statement which held much truth. He hit on my topic of helping parents prepare their children to be independent adults.

My focus has been on preparing the child so the parent can let them go. I now think an equal focus must be on preparing the child to let go of the parent and desire to be independent.

Once again, I am feeling inspired to write. Yes, I am distant from active parenting as my youngest child is 24 years old. But this gives me a clearer viewpoint that is less muddled with everyday exhausting parenting challenges, than when my five children were 1-18 years old. 

I have weathered a season of writing discouragement.  I am thankful it was only a season. It was intensified because of life changes.  Change can be scary, just like parenting or becoming an adult. We never navigate these changes perfectly. We just do it day by day, as best we can, and it is okay.  



Music Around Town

Right now in my head is a little jingle.  If I share a few words with you, it may get stuck in your head too.  “Wayfair, just what . . . .”    I bet you can finish it.  And if you ever lived in Chicagoland, as I did for most of my life, you know the phone number for Empire Carpeting, too..  It starts 5-8-8. . . . .

Everyday music is all around us. It may be in the background of a movie, a video game, or a commercial.  It serves a purpose there.  It may include vocals or just be instrumental. 

Music is an emotional language and as we connect with it, it can help us therapeutically identify and manage our own emotions.   It can soothe a troubled heart.  It can remind us of times past.  It can summon memories and feelings.

There are many places around town where we can interact with music for free, or at a minimal or reasonable cost.  I wish to point out a few, all of which can be appropriate for children. 

  1. Electronically at home.  Radios, CD’s, iPods, Alexa and Google provide easy access to any style of music or artist.  In December I asked Alexa to play various genres of Christmas music such as country, Christian and oldies.
  2. The local library. Many genres of music CD’s can be borrowed.
  3. At church.  Worship services usually involve music to be listened to and with which to engage vocally.
  4. Park concerts.   Often bands, various style groups, and even local orchestras will perform in parks.
  5. Community Festivals.  These may have a specific theme or ethnic flavor.
  6. Colleges and universities.  Most schools have an online schedule of students and professional artists offering a wide variety of performances from which to choose.
  7. Civic Center or library.  Again look online for a schedule or ask at the front desk.
  8. Your own television.  All movies, not just musicals, have music.  Practice listening to the emotion of the music and how it enhances the movie experience.  Learn to identify the climax or scary scene by the music.   The music often prepares the watcher for the scene.
  9. In Educational settings.   We learn more easily when information is set to music.  How did you learn the alphabet?   I have also heard jingles for multiplication facts and U.S. presidents. 
  10.  Own or borrow small musical instrument to experiment with at home.

Help your children embrace music.  This could lead them to desire learning to play an instrument or study voice.  Maybe they will develop a strong appreciation for musicians and performers.  Perhaps it will just enhance their own conversational skills as people do enjoy talking about their favorite music, style, and performers.  Possibly you and your child will learn to love a music style or venue that you have never before considered.   New worlds can be explored together.

There are many creative artists in every genre.  Some artists fill their songs with lyrics which do not benefit our children or us.  Pay attention to the words and teach your children to be discerning.  The words we listen to do impact us. 

Music Around Town is my fifth blog in my Around Town series. If you missed the others, you may find them in the Around Town category. Thanks for reading and sharing.

Parenting Insecurities

In your parenting role, about what do you feel insecure?  Whether you planned to have children or it just happened, the insecurities begin while they are still in utero.   It starts with unanswerable questions and a lack of experience.  We don’t even know how we will handle labor and delivery, much less nurturing a child for the next eighteen plus years.

Many of us entered parenting with strong convictions of what we will do like our parents did and other things we will not do as our parents did.   After all, “we are much smarter than our parents were at our age.  We have lived and learned through their mistakes.”  ….I wonder how many generations of humanity have thought this.  Maybe, every generation has.

I recall telling my parents, as a seventeen year old, that I thought they had been good parents. But there was one area which I wish they had done a bit differently.   I told them I wished they had given me more information about male and female anatomy and sex.    At 11 years old, after the topic was introduced to all the 6th grade girls (only girls) by the school nurse, I was given the basic information a girl needed to enter puberty.   My mother told me more than her mother had told her.

As I look back on this setting, I am rather ashamed (insecure) by my teenage boldness and audacity.  My comments to them were unnecessary and unhelpful.    The irony of this situation is that plus twenty years later, I did sadly better with my own daughter.

13432330_991497890963103_517149806296911717_n Also, I look back with wiser perspective at my own parents and am amazed at the extraordinary job they did at parenting and juggling two full time careers.  My mom chose to work the third shift so that either she or my dad were always at home with us.  They were incredibly sacrificial parents.  I wonder when she slept.

Parents continually make sacrifices of which their children have no knowledge.  Nor do they have any understanding.   It is not until we are parents ourselves that we can fully appreciate our own parents.

As parents we probably will have one or more of our teenage/adult children boldly proclaim or gently describe what a mess or a mistake we made while parenting them.   Even after our children are grown such a confrontation adds to our insecurities.  They may describe how badly we managed some situation.   Of course they are looking back on it and don’t have full knowledge of all that was involved.  We too, can examine the setting with hindsight and perhaps decide a different action should have been taken.

When our children are critical of our parenting, it often is really more about them and whatever they are dealing with than it is about us personally or our parenting.  But we project onto others what we cannot resonate within ourselves.best in people

Just as we made parenting decisions based on the knowledge and experience we had at the time, some day they will do the same.   Then they will have a new perspective on our decisions.

Every stage of parenting has its challenges and we may not feel confident in our ability to handle those challenges.    About the time when we do figure things out and implement our strategies, the needs change.   In addition to this, every child is an individual and has different needs and a different temperament.    I have frequently heard my parents say a stern word was sufficient to change my sister’s behavior, but I usually needed a spanking to receive the message (another area where parenting has changed).

If you feel anxious or apprehensive (insecure) about parenting issues, then start by praying about it. Pray for yourself, the need and your child. Keep praying until it is resolved.

You may discover your own parents to be quite insightful and pleased to be consulted about parenting. Other parents can be empathetic and might share a creative strategy that effectively helped them.   Parenting books, blogs, podcasts, and even radio programs can be helpful.     My parenting was heavily influenced by the Focus on the Family radio program.   It was always encouraging, inspiring, and challenging.

The best thing you can do for your children is love your spouse.  Strengthening your marriage and making it a higher priority than your children, gives them a secure home where love is demonstrated and expressed.                                                                               (see my post:   dianesergeant.wordpress.com/2015/03/27/guarding-marriage/)

No one is a perfect parent.   No doubt you won’t be perfect either.  You don’t have to be.  Just be loving, patient, kind, selfless, gentle, persistent, understanding, wise, . . . . . . .and when you’re insecure, ask the Lord to help you.

ask wisdom

Art

No one has ever labeled me an artist.  I do possess some creativity and love crafts.  I recall only one art project in school of which I was really proud.  It was a modeling clay crocodile made while studying Egypt. I was very sad when it lost a leg.

2018 July - Sept 036Despite my lack of artistic ability or skill I really enjoyed having the Picture Lady visit our classroom. The Picture Lady was probably the mom of a student in our elementary school.  She would bring a piece of framed art to our classroom and talk about it.  Then the piece was hung on the wall and left there until her next visit.

Years later when I was homeschooling our children, I tried to replicate what the Picture Lady did.  I borrowed framed art from our local library.  Often I did not know the artist, the name of the style, or even the title of the piece, but my children and I would discuss what we liked or disliked about the picture.  We would discuss what we thought about the colors the artist chose or perhaps how the picture made us feel. 2018 July - Sept 052

Like music, art is something to which we respond with thoughts and feelings.   Our responses are very personal and subjective.   Appreciation of art can be nurtured in almost every city and town.   Help your child explore and discover art where you live.   Art can be found in many forms and many places.  Here are a few places you may find art:

  1. On the corner of any street. I have seen electrical boxes and fire hydrants artistically and whimsically painted.
  2. In the downtown district. In some towns painted murals can be found on the sides of buildings and other locations.  Towns sometimes have competitions to promote community spirit with all the businesses painting the same figurine to creatively match their business.  I have seen statues of cows and dogs used in this way.   Window fronts of businesses often have seasonal decorations. I have seen these done by high school students during homecoming week.
  3. In parks and cemeteries. Monuments, memorials and sculptures are forms of art.
  4. In older, established neighborhoods. Some architectural styles of homes, such as Victoria, Queen Anne, Italianate, or Painted Ladies have artistic details.
  5. At colleges or universities. These often have art galleries with changing exhibits.
  6. At museums. Even small local historical societies may have art depicting an earlier era.
  7. In and on historic buildings. United States postal offices built in the 1930s and 1940s were elegant buildings and often contained impressive murals and paintings.   State capitols and other older government buildings also contain impressive art inside and outside.
  8. In libraries. Some libraries will exhibit local students’ art work.
  9. On water towers. Every town has at least one of these and it usually has the city logo on it.  Where else can you find the city logo?
  10. In hospitals, nursing homes, or rehab facilities. Art is used as therapy.  It may or may not be displayed.    It is therapeutic because it taps into our creativity and allows us to express emotions.

Have fun with your child exploring and discovering art.  Help them learn to appreciate the beauty of art as well as artistic skills. The mediums of art are nearly limitless and how and where they can be used is up to one’s imagination.  I hope you find the art form that resonates with your heart.   Who knows where this early exposure to art may lead your child someday.  Helping your child discover personal preferences and allowing them to be different from yours encourages their independence and personal development.

One caution:  Of course, anyone can explore art forms on the internet, but this is not a safe format for children alone.  Parents should prescreen and find acceptable websites to view with their children.   I really like the amazing street art by Tom Bob, NYC.