You know the scene—your child has been working so super hard on their art at home. You are jazzed they are working independently but also nosy so you swalk over and take a peek. You have no idea what in the world they are creating. You guess. YOU GUESS WRONG (!!!) & now you are tiptoeing around an emotional breakdown from them & subsequently from you.
Sound a bit familiar?
I’ve been there sooooo many times.
How do we talk to kids about their art? How can we encourage & strengthen their creativity? How can we avoid the broad and boring “That’s cool, buddddyyyyy” phrases that we all fall back on when we don’t know what to say?
What I’ve found is that kids want your approval of their art. They crave the recognition that making something new gets. When they say “Look at this!” they are reaching out for connection and, in a way, asking the teeny tiny questions “Do I measure up? Am I okay?” over and over and over again. Do they produce “good” things? Of course they do.
Sooooooo what do we do? Next time you see your child (of any age!) making something new, try pulling out one of these phrases. See what conversations can happen!
Art Teacher Tip: Do your very, very best NOT to guide a child’s art into something that YOU think would be better. This is their art. Not yours. Love youuuuu…… (steps back slowly.)
Tell me about what you made today?
I see you used (name the color); tell me why you chose that?
I love the way you (make an observation about a line, color, texture, etc.). That’s very interesting to me.
These statements take the emphasis off the “end product” and release the pressure to “do good.” Art is good because it’s FUN! No matter how it looks!