Sometimes the way we talk about a young child's art can affect their self-concept, or abilities to try again. Some ways to talk to a child that is objective, and can help encourage a child to continue creating.
- "This doesn't look like (object)." Children's fine motor skills are developing. Things will not look perfect. Practice is important. To the child, the drawing might clearly look like a giraffe. Telling a child it doesn't look like one might be discouraging.
- Identifying colors used. This can help a child be more aware of what they used.
- Identify lines or shapes of lines used. This can help a child develop language and a greater awareness of their process.
- The lines can also be used to pair with emotions or their needs to express emotions through art. Adults can talk about how the art makes them feel, or the emotion they think the child is expressing. A child can always correct the adult with the emotion they wanted to express, or if they didn't have any emotion while creating.
- Acknowledge the art. Sometimes a child only needs you to look, and they go back to creating.
- "Tell me about it." "Tell me about this part." Something to try once in a while where you can see a child is very engaged or invested in their art. This can help solidify the experience of creating and their positive self-concept with an adult's attention and questions.
- Child asked, "Do you like it?" turning the question back to , "Do you like it?" Some children learn to become people pleasers and equate their identity with creating things other people like. This might limit their abilities to explore or create on their own. It's great that children can create for others, but in general, it's also important for children to have the time to make things for the sake of creating and without judgment.
Boonie Sripom, MA Coaching for artists, geeks, and gamers. www.organizedmesses.com