Children can be quite prolific artists. But as a parent, it can be difficult to know how to react when they share their work.
Does every doodle deserve praise? Or should you be honest with them?
“Neither one nor the other, ” says Nicola Schmidt.
The education expert has another trick up her sleeve: “The important thing is not to judge the drawings; then you also don’t have to lie.
“Instead, describe what you see, or how it makes you feel, ” she advises.
For example: “There are so many colours everywhere” or “Oh, a dolphin. I can see that much better now than in the last drawing.”
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Another question: Should you keep the artwork?
Schmidt says that just a few drawings that show something special should be kept, for example, one where a head is recognisable for the first time, or the first “horse” that really resembles a horse.
However, older children should be involved in the decision on what art stays and what goes.
And if they say that they want to keep them all, then parents also have to do so.
Schmidt warns: “Parents shouldn’t then secretly throw them away. Because children do remember.”
For this scenario, how the question is phrased can be important.
Anyone who begins with “Shall we sort out a few paintings?” has already lost, she says.
“Don’t ask any question for which ‘no’ isn’t an option for you, ” she says.
The better question is: “Which three pictures do we want to keep?”
Then, the three best ones from each year end up in a folder.
Schmidt has another tip for how parents can ensure that they don’t have to keep their children’s art for eternity: “While most kids don’t take the folder when they move out, parents can turn the art into a calendar and give it to their grown children as a gift.” – dpa
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