Talking With Your Child About Their Art

One of my favorite books ever is Creative Art for the Developing Child by Clare Cherry. The book is written for teachers of preschool age children but I think much of the content is relevant to elementary age children and helpful for parents. Great book if you would like to do a little in-depth reading! On page 14 of the book, is the most well written advice I have found for parents on how to talk to children about their art.

We suggest that when children bring their artwork home, you comment about the colors, the mood, the lines, or the art media itself. If you always say only, "That's a pretty picture," that response will soon become meaningless to the child. "Do you want to tell me about that interesting picture?" is a better question than "What is it?" Asking what a picture is may imply to the child that art has to represent a particular thing. Art, however, can also be a design, an expression of a mood, or an exploration of media. Specific comments about your child's work can be very meaningful, for example:

"I can see that you worked hard to cover the whole paper."

"I notice that you left some of the white paper showing."

"That yellow and red are right next to each other."

"Oh, look at those wavy purple lines. How do they make you feel?"

"Those dots make it look like your brush was dancing on the paper."

"The colors of the crayons you used are the same as the colors in our kitchen."

"Those shapes must have been hard to make."

Making specific observations about your child's work not only shows an interest, but also acknowledges the artistic process.

Check out this page on the Artful Parent: How to Talk to Kids About Their Art