If You're Looking for Treasure...

Aarathi is a pediatrician and mom to Nikhil, an 11 year-old in 5th grade.

In their experience:

Engage in art-making together

Try new materials

Don't micromanage - making a mess is part of the plan 

1. How has the pandemic impacted the way you balance work and family?

Aarathi: I’m a pediatrician, I see mostly outpatient newborns. Although we’re not seeing a lot of pediatric cases, COVID-19 impacts us in the work itself. On the home front, I’m worrying about, am I going to get my son and my husband sick, since I don’t know what I see at work. So, we follow social distancing at home which has been hard. I come home and I change and shower before I do anything else, before that he doesn’t come near me. I don’t hug Nikhil anymore.

Nikhil: I don’t like being cooped up at home.

2. How did you start making art at home?

Nikhil: My mom has done art since she was a kid, so one day I saw her painting, I asked if I could try. I’ve never been too big on art, but I feel it’s a good way to pass the time. And I heard it helps you use the right brain.

Aarathi: Who told you that?

Nikhil: I think you told me that.

3. Tips or tricks?

Aarathi: I think the key is, you have to do it with them [your kids]. And use different mediums. We started out with finger painting, we’ve painted with, sticks, q-tips, cotton balls... One thing I did as a kid was, my mom would cut okra, and we would dip it in paint and make little flowers.

Nikhil: You should just see what you can do with materials. And if you feel you’re ready for the next level, the internet pretty much has everything, you can look up ideas.

I have another important tip for this, if you’re doing it with your kid, in my opinion, I don’t think you should help them out too much, I think you should just let them splatter and ruin the paper completely.

If you’re looking for treasure, it’s the quest that means the most. We just like painting or drawing together, that’s the whole point.

4. How have the arts impacted you in these times?

Nikhil: I think it’s pretty time consuming which is good right now. Even on a regular day it’s something that I think people should consider doing. Especially if you’re doing it with someone it can be fun.

Aarathi: We like doing it together because like he said it doesn’t come down to perfection, it’s about the time spent together. Even though we pick the same thing to do, he does his thing and I do my thing. And we feel good after we do it. It’s the process of it. We make mistakes. He teaches me a lot when I try to control, I learn to back off so I learn from him. And I think he learns a little from me.

I asked him to draw about the coronavirus, it’s important to give them those avenues to express it. Just to keep him engaged.

It’s about spending time and being creative. And we have fun and we like it, because he’s found his own way. His creativity is different.

Nikhil: But our goals are the same.