5 Things I Love About Being a Children’s Arts and Crafts Trainer

The concentration on children’s faces as they work to complete a challenging arts and crafts project is breathtaking. Committed to completing the project to the best of their abilities and eliciting the proud “oohs and ahhs” of parents and arts and crafts trainer is foremost on their minds as they diligently wield their paintbrushes, scissors and glue. The quiet dignity that they possess as they work causes my heart to swell with pride for the incredible human beings that they are and for their tremendous potential. I am often amazed at the talent that they have and the original work that they produce.

Children derive great benefit from exploring their creativity, using their hands and expanding their minds. Arts and crafts classes allow children and teens to develop their brains and cognitive skills and hone their hand eye coordination and fine motor skills. Often overexposed to technology, arts and crafts classes force children to look up from their cell phones and away from the computer and television screens in order to create something imaginative and unique. Kids have the opportunity to tap into talents that may be unrealized.

1) I love being a children’s arts and crafts trainer.
Reason: Children possess an innocence and grace that reminds me to appreciate every minute I am fortunate enough to work with them. The added benefit of an already fun job is that I grow and learn from each of my students. I am able to continue developing my own artistic and teaching skills with each class as I watch the children blossom under my guidance.

2) I love introducing a new arts and crafts project to eager participants.
Reason: I may have tie dyed t-shirts with hundreds of children but the project feels fresh and new with every new group of excited kids. Children possess an enthusiasm and gusto for life that keeps me fired up! Each new student brings something unique and special to the classroom. It is exciting to watch a child’s eyes light up when they are exposed to new materials, techniques and ideas.

3) I love boosting a child’s self esteem while developing her creativity.
Reason: In a world where criticism flows freely it feels great to be the one lucky enough to encourage. Looking for the wonderful things that children do well is inspiring to them and inspiring to an arts and crafts trainer. Dissolving limiting beliefs and replacing those negative thoughts with potential and promise opens up a new world to kids. It is gratifying to know that one’s support and insight can help a child to envision a future filled with unlimited potential.

4) I love being an entrepreneur and running my own business.
Reason: It is not easy being a business owner. Entrepreneurs are responsible for managing fiscal responsibilities, keeping on top of marketing and advertising, recruiting new customers, handling customer service situations and developing new products. For those individuals who possess guts, drive, tenacity and enthusiasm, running a business is the perfect career. The pros of running a business like creating one’s own hours, being in charge, never being bored and making money for oneself far outweigh the cons. Entrepreneurs are risk takers and visionaries.

5) I love following my passion!
Reason: Can there be any greater feeling than waking up each morning excited to start working? Finding a career that not only satisfies but inspires is very important to having a fulfilled life. Many people get stuck doing work that doesn’t suit them or bores them to tears because they are afraid to take a risk and follow their dreams. Following my passion has allowed me to create a life that I love. I am able to work flexible hours so that I can still be a full time mom while following my dreams of being a creative business owner.

Taking the steps to build a business that is fulfilling and creative is essential to career happiness. Being an arts and crafts trainer is a fun opportunity to work with kids and make a difference in their lives. It is truly gratifying to wake up each day excited to tackle the challenges that await, and guiding children through the creative process.

Moms on Edge has just launched Arts and Crafts Moms a distance learning program that trains and certifies people to teach arts and crafts to children while helping to boost self esteem. To learn more about this exciting opportunity to start a business in the arts visit http://www.artsandcraftsmoms.com

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Top Ten Reasons Arts and Crafts Helps Boost a Child’s Self Esteem

A child’s self esteem is built throughout the course of childhood. Although ultimately the child develops her own perceptions of self and builds her own self esteem, reinforcement from the outside world is crucial in fortifying the child’s self assessment. Appropriate responses to the child support the child’s opinion of herself, “I think that I did a nice job completing this arts and crafts project.” “Yes, you did a terrific job completing your arts and crafts project. I can tell by the quality of the finished piece that you really put your all into it!”
Praise just for the sake of praise isn’t effective in building a child’s self esteem. Kids are very insightful, especially teens, and even the most enthusiastic praise will ring hollow if it is not attached to something meaningful. “Wow, you are amazing!” “Why, what did I do?”
Creative activities such as arts and crafts provide an outstanding opportunity for adults to help bolster a child’s self esteem. As the child works the observant adult has almost unlimited opportunities to point out what the child is doing well.
Top ten reasons arts and crafts helps boost a child’s self esteem.
1. Arts and crafts invites the child to experiment with supplies, techniques, and directions that are often foreign and intimidating. Tackling and becoming adept at creative new tasks brings satisfaction and gratification to children of all ages.
2. Arts and crafts encourages children to push themselves to plan and finish an entire project. Children feel a great sense of accomplishment when they are responsible for completing an entire task from A to Z.
3. Arts and crafts classes produce a fertile environment for meeting and interacting with new people. It can be difficult for some children to venture beyond their comfort zones and intermingle with children they don’t know. It is very flattering and a boost to self esteem for children to hit it off and work with new friends.
4. Arts and crafts classes force children to take risk and put themselves and their work “out there”. It is a gamble to create something and show people because there is the possibility of receiving criticism. Children, especially teens are averse to this type of hazard. A supportive arts and crafts trainer creates an environment where children feel comfortable exposing their work. Children who learn how to tackle risk are better suited and more comfortable tackling appropriate risk as adults.
5. Arts and crafts teach open mindedness. Creative questions do not have finite answers like math or physics problems. When doing arts and crafts children learn how to explore the many different possible solutions to the problems that they face. Being imaginative and open minded allows for them to invent solutions that are exciting and inspired. Children gain the confidence to tackle many problems in creative and ingenious ways.
6. Arts and crafts aid in dispelling a child’s “limiting beliefs”. It is very common for children to create ideas about their own abilities that restrict their activities. Thoughts like, “I am not smart enough to do this,” are destructive and chip away at their self esteem. Craft projects teach children how to change damaging preconceived notions. Children learn how much they truly are capable of and build on each experience gaining confidence with each project.
7. Arts and crafts projects illustrate to children that they can achieve success. It is good for children to discover that they can be victorious. Success feels great and inspires children to reach for more and attempt harder and harder tasks.
8. Arts and crafts allows an opportunity for children to let loose and have fun. In a relaxed and non-competitive atmosphere children can explore their carefree and imaginative side. Seeing that they are multidimensional beings contributes to their overall sense of well being and a healthy sense of self.
9. Arts and crafts classes permit children to see themselves in a fresh, new light. It is important that kids have the opportunity to survey many different pursuits. Allowing kids to choose the activities that excite and delight them gives them the confidence to later pursue their own interests and eventually choose meaningful careers and pastimes.
10. Arts and crafts promote a passion for learning! Kids who have expanded their confidence through creativity and developing a healthy self esteem are curious about learning new things. The self assurance that they build doing arts and crafts overflows into all of their endeavors making for a rich and highly satisfying childhood.

Moms on Edge has just launched Arts and Crafts Moms a distance learning course that certifies people to teach arts and crafts to kids. Visit http://www.artsandcraftsmoms.com to learn more about our wonderful new opportunity!

Nurture Your Child Not Your Ego

moe-logo.jpgParents should never allow their egos to become wrapped up in their child. Many parents measure their own value and success by their children’s successes and failures. Children behaving like children, not hitting milestones early enough, or not living up to a parent’s unrealistic expectations, can be devastating to these parents and to the healthy development of their kids. The parent becomes focused on what the child can do versus on who the child is.  

A perfect example of a parent never satisfied with her son’s accomplishments was the mother of a preteen tennis player. When complimented by another mother about her son’s skills, the tennis player’s mother responded through clenched teeth, “Well, he’s no Roger Federer.” (She was referring to the number one tennis player in the world, a living legend, and perhaps the greatest player in history.) 

The mother’s response was typical of a parent desperate for her child to astonish and dazzle the world. Her expectations were destructive to herself and to her child. Her comparison robbed her of the joy of watching her son play, and because even Meryl Streep isn’t a good enough actress to hide the kind of disappointment the mother was feeling, this child’s self-esteem was most likely suffering as a result of her conditional love. 

The other side of the coin is the parent who takes all of the credit for the child’s success and creates an entire identity around that child. This parent yearns for an exceptional child. The parent is special because the child is special. The child becomes responsible for the parents feelings of self-worth.  

It is important for parents to disentangle their egos from their parenting. As soon as the umbilical cord is cut, children begin their own journey through life and even though hands on, attentive parenting is vital to their growth, children deserve to own both their disappointments and successes. Parents are then able to comfort, encourage, applaud, feel pride and express love.  

Taking parenting personally can also make parenting much harder. Unable or unwilling to see the child realistically, the parent misses what skills, manners and behaviors need work, and then the parent gets frustrated and confused when the child acts out. “But my child is gifted, why is he unable to potty train? I must be a bad mother.” 

Recently a very well known parenting expert was quoted in the New York Times, “The thing about toddlers is that they are uncivilized,” Dr. Karp says. “Our job is to civilize them, to teach them to say please and thank you, don’t spit and scratch and don’t pee anywhere you want. These are the jobs you have with a toddler.” 

To a parent who has their ego enmeshed with their toddler, the Dr.’s insight above would be terribly offensive and even hurtful. Instead of saying, “Yes, that is exactly what I am experiencing with my toddler, and I am really enjoying helping my toddler to become civilized,“ she says, “How dare he say that my child is uncivilized.” The mother is unable to actually see that the Dr.’s statement is not a personal attack, he is saying that her role is vital and it is okay to have a child who doesn’t understand proper social skills, and with her unconditional love and training the child will learn. 

Being objective and establishing appropriate boundaries with offspring is an important step towards not allowing ego to get wrapped up in the child. “Helicopter Parents” or parents who hover, are very inappropriately involved with their, often, adult children and have skewed the division between themselves and their child. For example, it has become commonplace for parents to come to the defense of their children who have been given a low grade or have been reprimanded by a teacher. Their ego is damaged when their child needs correcting, and in response they bristle and challenge the professional. The term “helicopter parenting” has been coined to describe these hovering parents. 

A true but unbelievable example of “helicopter parenting” happened at a large insurance agency. The father of a smart, well educated and capable, twenty-five year old woman, called her boss to discuss her job performance. Weeks later this same young woman missed a flight to a meeting she was supposed to take with her boss. He understandingly told her that she should go straight to the office and work. Instead she took an 8 hour train ride to the city to try to attend the meeting anyway. When questioned why she did not go back to the office as she was instructed, she responded, “My mother told me that I had to go to the meeting.” 

Parenting without ego helps develop healthy self esteem in kids. Children experience their parent’s unconditional love and feel valued for who they are and not what they succeed at. When parents allow their children to be their own people instead of an extension of themselves, children begin to take responsibility for their own decisions, likes and dislikes, good and bad behavior and choices. Establishing appropriate boundaries between parent and child helps the child become autonomous and independent and not feel pressured to excel in the hopes that their parents will feel fulfilled.  

An excerpt from a wonderful poem that summarizes this theme is in Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet: 

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.