Learn how to communicate with children by drawings and get to know your child and his inner personality better. Children’s drawings can tell you so much about their fears, joys, dreams, hopes, and nightmares, but they also give you a precious view of their personalities.
Children begin their drawing process from the moment they are big enough to hold a crayon or pencil and put it on paper. For little ones drawing represents a natural activity, usually with much enjoyment. They draw in order to express emotions because they don’t know how to express different feelings through words. They express their fears, joys, dreams, hopes, and nightmares through drawings, and also give you leads about their relationships to the world and to other things.
Drawing is an outlet for communication, and children’s artwork represents a view of their personalities. Children’s drawings are unique and can give us precise information about young artists.
Every parent hopes to find some meaning in his child’s drawings. Sometimes drawings are just drawings, with nothing more than a fun playtime showing itself on the page. But sometimes, interpreting children’s drawings means that you discover a deeper layer to what they are thinking and feeling.
So, don’t read too much into a drawing, but instead, allow the child to tell you what the drawing means to them. Asking questions, such as what the people in the drawing are doing, can reveal things from your child that you might never see yourself.
There are three stages of children’s drawings: Scribbling, Pre-Schematic, and Schematic stages.
- Scribbling (2-4 years)
At this stage, there is no realism in the pictures, and they are mostly just marks on a page. It might seem like there is nothing there, but sometimes children create something called “fortuitous realism.” This means that when the scribbles are done, you might be able to see certain shapes, resembling a car or a house.
- Pre-Schematic (4-7 years)
At this stage, children attempt to create things they see with their eyes. They might draw the simplest things, such as faces, stick figures, cars, trucks, trees, and houses. There are usually no realistic details to these drawings. At the end of the stage, they begin adding in certain things that set their ideas apart, such as flowers in front of a house or clothes on the stick figures.
- Schematic (7+ years)
In this stage, there is some evidence of schema. For example, a drawing of the ocean might include seagulls, starfish, a beach ball, people wearing bathing suits, etc. Words and symbols might be added to give further messages of explaining the drawing. Drawings of humans will have more details, possibly including freckles. There is more depth and realism, and the use of new viewpoints is possible.
How to Encourage Your Children’s Drawings
Learning to interpret and decode children’s drawings can be very useful for you as a parent. However, try to encourage this creative activity as well.
Art experiences help children develop independence within limits, and gives them the opportunity to represent their ideas on paper or in other formats. Most importantly, creative expression lets children tap into the magic of their own imaginations, which is what being a child is all about.
Here are some of the things you can do to encourage your child to draw more:
- Make art a regular part of playtime. Offer them various drawing utensils such as crayons, thick pencils, and washable markers. Cut paper bags up to draw on. Sometimes it helps young children out if you tape the paper down on the table so it doesn’t move as they draw.
- No need for instructions. Let your child experiment and explore and express his creativity in his own way. This independent child needs to feel confident, competent, and clever.
- Notice the process, not just the product. Participate in their drawing process, instead of just complimenting your child’s success. Help him draw some more complicated things, or choose together appropriate colours for a house of tree.
- Use art to help your child express strong feelings. If your child is feeling angry, help him/her express such emotions by drawing very angry picture.
- Display your child’s art and writing. This is how your child knows his/her work is valued and important.
Do you like to draw with your kids? Would you share some of your kids’ drawings with us?
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