Written by Teresa Woodruff
Artwork that your child creates is an expression of his/her thoughts and feelings. Your response can truly affect your child, so we encourage you to respond in a way that enhances your child’s self-esteem and allows the art to be a conversation-starter. Try to use the following tips:
• Ask questions about the artwork, even encourage your child to make up a story about specific objects in the drawing: Using the artwork as a conversation-starter will help your child to develop verbal skills while learning that you value his creativity.
• Ask for more information or compliment a specific aspect of the drawing, such as: “What a unique and intricate house. Tell me about who or what could live in this house.” This again gets the child talking and being creative.
• Ask your child open-ended questions, such as: “What part of this picture do you like best?” or “What part was the most difficult to do?”
• Compliment specific elements to show your child that you are truly looking at the drawing (instead of merely saying “that is good”). For example, say: I love how you used different shades of green in the tree. It makes it look so real.
• Applaud your child’s effort and celebrate this effort by displaying the artwork. This will enable your child to feel proud and to know that you truly appreciate his efforts.
• Allow your child to make decisions about what colors to use and how to solve problems as they arise in his drawing: Art is a great place for your child to feel in control and to try out different problem-solving skills. If he messes up, let him figure out how to fix or change the drawing.
• Appreciate that each child and each drawing is unique: Refrain from comparing your child’s art to someone else’s work.
• Try not to analyze the artwork or assume why your child used certain colors: Very often our assumptions of our children’s drawings are incorrect. Instead of making an assumption, ask your child to tell you more about the colors or specific aspects of the drawing.