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This 20-minute daily practice makes kids ‘better problem solvers,’ says Johns Hopkins child development expert 




There are many everyday tasks—eating vegetables, doing homework, brushing teeth—that children don't understand, or that it's beneficial to pay attention to.

But forming these habits is essential to becoming a well-adjusted adult.

However, there is a lesser-known activity that is just as important to a child's development: engaging with and creating art.

"Kids who use art are better problem solvers," says Susan Magusman, co-author of "Your Brain on Art: How the Arts Transform Us." Magseman is also the founder of the International Arts + Mind Lab, Center for Applied Neuroaesthetics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

"They're developing stronger prefrontal cortex skills like executive function and memory. They're better able to regulate their emotions.

She says you don't need to do this for long enough to see long-term effects.

"To start, spend 20 minutes every day experiencing some form of art, whether you're a creator or a viewer," she says. "We think it starts to regulate the nervous system in a way that affects how we feel."

'We are ready to express ourselves'

Ivy Ross, co-author of "Your Brain on Art" and vice president of hardware design at Google, says that both parents and children stop prioritizing art once it becomes a skill they can't take for granted. Not considered a career avenue.

"Judgment comes or a teacher says, 'No, that's not the way you make a tree,' and it shuts down these kids' desire to make art, and ironically, that's the worst thing." It can happen because we are wired to express ourselves, and art is such a wonderful medium,” she says.

Along with the understandable desire for their children to be successful, many parents only want their children to participate in activities that they think will make money.

"We've built these distortions into our culture about wasting time," says Magsman.

However, leaving some space between school and sports and extracurricular activities is not a waste of time. "Giving time and space allows you to figure out what you like and don't like and what you find beautiful," she says.

'Children love novelty and surprises and they are very curious'

Getting involved with the arts doesn't mean enrolling your child in classes. It is economical and less stressful.

In fact, it's as easy as going out.

"Looking at clouds and finding pictures in the clouds, called pareidolia, is a really cool activity that kids love," says Magseman.

"Kids love novelty and wonder, and they're very curious. What are some places you can take kids that are awe-inspiring and awe-inspiring? Once you get that and tap into their energy growth, you can direct them to activities that continue to build on that."

Some television shows that emphasize storytelling can also be part of your child's engagement with the arts. As long as it is combined with other experiences.

"It's all about timing and balance," Ross said. "There's storytelling and taking in music, and then creating with your hands and feelings. It's almost the food your baby needs. It's a well-balanced diet."

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