How photography can boost your child’s mental health

How photography can boost your child’s mental health

Looking for a new activity that will fire your child’s imagination and help boost their mental health? Kirsty Prankerd, from photo gifting and keepsake gift company Write From The Heart, explains why photography is such a beneficial hobby for children.

We’re living through anxious times at the moment, and as a result, it’s more important than ever for our little ones to have creative outlets that allow them to escape from life’s stresses. So, if you’re looking for a new activity that will have a positive effect on your child’s wellbeing while also keeping them busy, why not encourage them to take up photography? This can be a fantastic way to boost their wellbeing, burn off excess energy, and stimulate creativity. And, you never know — it could just pave the way to a glittering career as a professional photographer!

In this article, I’ll explain why photography is so beneficial for your child’s mental health, as well as sharing a few tips on how to get started.

It teaches them to notice the beauty of the world around them

It’s often said that the world looks different through a lens, and that’s because it’s true. Photography encourages us to see things from a new angle, which can help snap us out of a bad mood when we’re feeling low or anxious. So, if your kids are feeling cooped up or stressed, the process of taking a photo can help to distract them, as well as encouraging them to see familiar people, objects and places in a new light.

Photography forces us to live in the moment, and to pay attention to what’s happening around us, which is a form of mindfulness. So, when your little one is searching the house or garden for the perfect shot, or editing their photo after they’ve taken it, they’ll be fully present and focused on their surroundings. This means the process of taking a photo can be a very therapeutic and mindful one, which is great for busting stress and anxiety.

It’s a great excuse to get outside

Fresh air, sunshine, and exercise are all known to boost our mental health and wellbeing, and photography is a great excuse to get outside. From plants and flowers to insects and wildlife, there are lots of exciting subjects to snap in the great outdoors, and daylight is often the best kind of lighting for photography. So, if you’re struggling to get the kids away from screens and videogames and out enjoying the fresh air, photography can provide them with some extra motivation to do so.

It stimulates creativity

Getting behind the camera is an incredibly creative experience. Your child will have complete artistic freedom when they’re taking pictures: it’s all up to them to decide what they photograph, and how their snaps look. It’s a great creative outlet that gives them a way to really express themselves. Plus, in addition to learning how to operate a camera and take cool pictures, they’ll be learning a lot of basic artistic concepts too, such as contrast, composition, and light — all while having loads of fun.

It builds self esteem

Learning a new hobby can be a fantastic way to build up your child’s self-esteem. They’ll be mastering a brand new skill, which can boost their overall confidence and mental wellbeing. It can be an especially great way to boost their esteem around their artistic achievement, especially if they don’t feel they’re any good at more traditional forms of art, like drawing. And, they’ll feel even more confident when they start getting positive feedback on their photos from their family and friends, too.

Photography can be a particularly good hobby if your child often gets anxious about their own performance at school or in other extra curriculars. After all, there’s no right or wrong way to take a photo, which means there’s no pressure on them to “get it right”. Instead, they can just focus on taking photos that make them happy, rather than trying to please someone else.

How to get started: photography ideas for kids

First, you’ll need to get your child an age-appropriate camera. Fortunately, there have never been options on the market for younger photographers, and it’s possible to pick up a child-friendly camera for your little one quite affordably. Slightly older children — say, 10 or older — may be ready for their first “grown up” camera, although of course it’s often better to pick something more affordable and user-friendly if this is their first foray into photography.

Once they’ve gotten to grips with using their camera, it may help to set some “assignments” for your little ones to help encourage them to get creative with their photography. I’ve shared a few below to help get you started:

  • Colours: Challenge your child to take lots of photographs of a particular colour. If their camera has a setting or filter that picks out a colour as a highlight, this is a great way to use it!
  • Textures: Give your little one a particular texture to look for and photograph, like “soft”, “fluffy”, “shiny”, or “rough”. This will encourage them to look closely at the surface of objects, and to consider how they look from different angles.
  • Scavenger hunt: Give your child a list of different items around the house or garden to photograph.
  • Story time: Set your little one the challenge of telling a story through a sequence of pictures. They can even turn their finished images into a picture book!

Photography is a creative activity that help boost your child’s mental health in all sorts of ways. Take these tips on board and your budding shutter bug will be snapping away before you know it.