Although drawing is easy to pick up for any child, like anything that requires effort and practice it can also be a source of frustration as your child starts to set standards for him or herself that are difficult to meet. Fortunately, they have you there to help them get past their blocks! Today we have a few suggestions to help you – and ultimately, your child – on your way.
1. Don’t be afraid to help with the basics. As long as you show a little restraint – don’t start drawing
|Drawing with children (US Navy Imagery)|
2. Give your child the chance to experiment. There’s a lot more to drawing and coloring than pencils and crayons. You don’t necessarily need to go out and spend hundreds of dollars on a fine charcoal set and easel for your little one, but letting them experiment with pens, markers, colored pencils, or even paint can breathe new life into drawing for your child. It can’t hurt to try it yourself, either!
3. Help them find references. Many children are content to draw from their imagination, but for those that want to draw real, tangible things, this can be a huge help. If your child prefers drawing animals, help find them pictures of lions, or tigers, or bears. If they like to draw people, why not dig out a photo album? If they enjoy drawing trees and flowers, go to the park together and take pictures, or maybe even start a flower garden together. If all else fails, find pictures to use on the internet! References are everywhere.
4. Give them some structure. While it’s good to allow your child the freedom to pursue whatever they want when they draw, sometimes children start to lose focus on or confidence in even the things they really enjoy. Once in a while, try giving your child an assignment – ask them to draw their favorite animal for you and tell you why they like it, or have them make up a story for you to go with their drawing. This can go a long way in helping you understand your child’s feelings, as well as giving them a direction to go in.
5. Encourage your child. The old saying ‘practice, practice, practice!’ applies to any art at any age – for your child to get better at drawing, they need to keep at it. Perfection won’t come easily, so it’s your job as a parent to cheer them on if your child becomes tired or frustrated at a lack of success. If they feel like they’re failing, encourage them to keep trying. If they do well, tell them what a good job they did. If they think they did badly, show them what they did right, and help them to find out how to fix their mistakes. Drawing well takes time, and it will likely never become more than a hobby for most children. Still, it has a number of psychological and developmental benefits for any child, and even a little effort from you can go far in helping your child’s self-confidence, and maybe even their future career!
About the author
I'm Kathy, and I'm all over the place, but right now I'm at We Draw Animals - if you and your little one(s) are into drawing animals for all the odd reasons - come and check the tutorials I (strive to) add each week!