The importance of Painting in Children's Development
Toddlers make absolutely wonderful pictures when they are allowed to freely work with paints and colour on a large piece of paper. Sadly, for many toddlers, this is a rare experience. Technology and “non-messy” activities and structured games are important but, in my opinion, equally important is the experience of messy play and art.
Apart from being tons of fun, painting helps aesthetic development, fine motor skills, expressing and learning emotions, self expression and speech.
Painting together is also a great bonding experience for you and your child. However it is important that you allow yourself to have the freedom to paint without trying to make a picture and your child has the freedom to paint how he or she wants to.
Letting the child artist emerge
Picasso once said: “I used to draw like Raphael. But it has taken me a lifetime to draw like a child.”
Although Picasso was a competent artist when he drew like Raphael, he became a great artist only when he allowed the child within him to emerge and started to draw freely without a pre-determined technique.
When we allow our children to paint and draw their own way and they see us having fun and being free with colour, shapes without technique they will learn to trust themselves and their instincts. They will create a visual world on paper about things as they appear, taste and smell.
If you are worried or don’t like to deal with mess try a drop in centre that provides a space to paint - wear old duds and the clean-up is not solely your problem .
One tip is to let your child tell you what the picture is about – rather than ask “what is that” – ask them “tell me about your picture”. You may be surprised!
Most of all enjoy the experience – if you hate art or have an “I’m not good at this stuff” message just let yourself play – painting is a primal response to the world around us. Our inner child artist just wants to have fun.