Michelle Baker, MA
Talking to Kids About their Art
As parents, we are often curious and fascinated by our kids’ art. Art provides children an opportunity to tell a story, express internal thoughts or describe an event. So, every time your child comes to you with a picture he/she has just drawn, make it a point to ask some questions or talk to them for a few minutes before putting their work on the fridge.
Here are some tips for talking to kids about their art.
Ask the child to tell a story
Let’s face it. There are times when you just can’t figure out what the picture is. But asking, “What is this?” seems inappropriate.
One way of getting children to talk is by prompting them with “Once upon a time”. Thinking of it as a game, your little one will be glad to continue and reveal the story behind his/her drawing.
Praise the effort
Acknowledge the effort they have put into their artwork. Focus your praise on what they have done rather than their innate brilliance. Say something like “That took a lot of work” or “How did you blend those colors?” rather than “You’re so clever!”
Children who are praised for “doing” continue to strive as compared to those who are praised for being smart or clever.
You can’t just say, “It’s beautiful” all the time. If you do, your kids may eventually doubt that anything they do is praise worthy and may stop valuing your praise.
Watch out for repetition
If your child has drawn an image repeatedly, especially if it is a troubling scene, this may be an indication that your child is in need of help.
Given their limited vocabulary, kids find it easier to express themselves through crayons, paints and markers. Be sure to talk to your child about the drawing to see what it is that’s bothering him/her.
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