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“Mommy, Daddy, look what I made!” Preschoolers love to draw, paint, and make things from clay or good old mud. How you react to their artwork can impact their creativity and their attitude toward schoolwork. It even lays the groundwork for good communication with you later in life.
Obviously, a little child scribbling is not going to produce genius. Nevertheless, this work is important to their mental development and their physical dexterity for writing and doing fine motor tasks. It also gives them a way to express feelings and imagination before they have words for complicated ideas. When you respond to your child’s project, respond to their impulse in making it and their joy in showing it to you.
Simple compliments may make your child smile now, but studies show that general, blanket praise quickly becomes meaningless. It leads children to think less about their own ideas and more about how to please others. They will tend to do fast, sloppy work to get more compliments, rather than focusing and building their concentration.
Tell your child what you notice about their work. How many colors did they use? Are the lines straight, curly, or dotted? Ask your child what materials they used. How did it feel, physically — cold, smooth, wet? Does the picture have a story?
Children naturally seek their parents’ approval. Showing you a drawing is a way of saying, “I love you.” Even if you are busy, take just a second and say, “Thank you for showing me!” To your child, that means, “I love you, too.”