Can you encourage children to practice drawing

When children paint: from doodles to cephalopods

When children paint, they discover the world. This is why our little ones' first scribble is so important. Graduated psychologist Michael Thiel gives tips on how you can promote the fun of painting.

Every child can paint. And every child should paint. Because painting is so much more than just a remedy for boredom. It promotes motor skills, inspires imagination and strengthens self-confidence. In short: painting makes you smart. And parents can still learn a lot from the pictures of their children.
But every beginning is difficult. The first hurdle is holding a pen. At first, children simply hold the pens in their fists. They perform their movements with their entire upper body. Encouraged by the success that they have "created" something themselves on the sheet of paper, technology is developing better and better. Fine motor skills are trained. And the first doodles gradually turn into really recognizable forms and shapes. In education one speaks of the so-called Cephalopods: big faces with arms and legs. Most children start drawing these first pictures of people around their third birthday.

Children paint and learn

Some may now wonder why the scribble phase (starts from the 12th month) lasts for a relatively long time. But even a moon face that is so simple for us is a top achievement for our children's brains. It requires a high degree of abstraction. Children first have to learn that a face can only be created from the elements dot, comma and line if they are arranged correctly. That assumes they know what the main features of a face are: eyes, nose and mouth.
“The more a child draws, the more precisely they will be able to form a picture of the world that surrounds them. Painting and drawing sharpen perception and analytical thinking. Because in order to depict something, a child not only has to look closely at it, but also analyze what the characteristic features are and understand how it works according to age ”, explains graduate psychologist Michael Thiel to STAEDTLER. It is therefore only logical that the Language development of the child progresses. What is painted is associated with a linguistic designation. And so new connections are constantly being created in the brain. Thiel: “Drawing and painting are training fields for the brain. The more often a child draws and paints with pens and brushes, the more the connections between nerve cells in the brain are strengthened. "
Various studies therefore claim that children who were able to paint well in kindergarten also do better on intelligence tests in elementary school. However, one should be careful with such data. However, it is a fact that painting trains many different cognitive skills that are largely responsible for our intelligence.
Much more important: Painting boosts children's self-confidence enormously. “By training the brain while painting and drawing, you have the feeling that you can make a difference in life and your surroundings, and the fear of minor challenges or complicated matters disappears. This feeling of self-efficacy makes life for children more positive and manageable ”, confirms Thiel. This is why children are so proud of each of their works of art. You can reinforce this positive feeling by carefully examining your children's drawings. Talk to your child about their drawings. Your child confirms your interest in his work. The question "Will you tell me something about the picture?" However, educators consider this to be better than “What did you paint there?”. Assessments and instructions, on the other hand, have no place in painting. Children can let their imagination run free on the sheet of paper and they really enjoy doing it. They explore the boundaries between reality and imagination and thus stimulate their own creativity. And even if the acting skills still have their limits, that doesn't detract from the creative process.

Often, however, children simply paint what they experience every day. With the pictures they express what concerns them. Therefore one can look at children's drawings like diary entries. So you should always take a closer look at your children's works of art. You can learn a lot about your child in this way. For this reason, qualified psychologist Thile advises regular parent-child painting classes: “When parents and children are creative together, they convey to their children that they enjoy being with them - and that you can can do great things together. This in turn strengthens the parent-child bond, which is extremely important for the psychological development and mental health of children. "

5 tips: promote painting fun

So many good reasons to resort to ink and paper more often. But what use are they when the minis just don't feel like it? It's boringiiiiiiiiiiiig. Of course, you shouldn't force your children to paint. But often a few simple tricks help to wake up the artist in every childn. Thiel, for example, gives these five tips:

Practice early
Let the little ones experiment with colors. Special finger paint for babies is particularly suitable for this. By smearing around, babies get a feeling that they can leave traces through targeted movements. In this way, enthusiasm for painting can be aroused early on.

Age-appropriate utensils
It sounds simple, but it's especially important for small children. Larger pencils are easy to hold at the beginning and so there is no unnecessary frustration. Your little ones will quickly become more adept at using the pens.

Enough material in stock
So that children always have the opportunity to let off steam creatively, you should always have enough material at home. Pens, paints and various types of paper are part of the basic equipment.

Be a good role model
Children learn by watching. This means that if you regularly pick up pen and paper, for example to sketch something, your children will adapt the behavior.

Paint together
Wake up the child in you yourself and paint together with your child. Painting is not an individual activity for children. It's nice to see that children are constantly in touch with each other or can also paint on a picture together. Become part of it and create creative moments together.

You can paint this with children

It sounds a bit like Übermother who also finds the muse in everyday life to be extremely creative and to create great works of art together with the children. But children don't need that at all. It's about the thing itself and not about what comes out of it in the end. As a small

Nevertheless, we have collected a few tips on what you can paint with your children as a creative suggestion. Or take a look at There you will find more tips and beautiful coloring pages.

* With the kind support of STAEDTLER Mars GmbH & Co. KG

Image source: iStock, private

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