It is important to understand how to talk with children about their art to help them develop and increase their creative confidence as well increase your connection to their inner world.
Use the acronym C.R.E.A.T.E to talk with your child about their artful creations!
Try to make comments about things you see and know. Talk about the use of colors, lines, and shapes. You can make comments like, “I love that curved line.” or, “I liked that you used a lot of blue.” Try to stay away from general comments such as, “that looks beautiful,” or, “wow, that’s so cool.” Remember, that not all artwork is meant to be pretty or beautiful.
Respect your little artist’s creations by not telling them how to paint, color, draw, sculpt, etc. It might be hard but respect how they want to create even when it’s different than how you would do something. This will help develop their creative independence.
Use encouraging statements such as, “you worked really hard on that.” Or, “wow, I loved how careful you drew that picture. You were very patient.” When using encouraging statements, focus on how the little artist works. This will help build an understanding of the benefits of art.
Ask about your little artist’s artwork but not by asking, “what is it?” This might hurt their feelings if you aren’t able to identify the image they created. Also, try to not assume you know what the image is. Use questioning as a means of allowing your little artist to tell you about their art. “Can you tell me about your picture?” or, “I want to know more about this part of your picture.”
Tell them how you feel about their artwork and how they created it. This will help them identify emotions and be open to discussing them. “That yellow makes me really happy when I look at it.” or, “I’m sad the bunny doesn’t have a friend in your picture.”
Use art-making as a way to verbally and non-verbally engage and connect with your little artist. Create alongside of them and talk about what you are making.
Caroline Tye is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and a registered board-certified art therapist. She is also an artist, educator and the owner of Dandelion Art Studio. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Art Education from Illinois College, however her passionate beliefs in the power of creativity lead her to discover the certificate art therapy program at Northwestern University. She completed the program, but wanted to continue to further her knowledge. She obtained a Master’s in Art Therapy with an emphasis in Counseling at Mount Mary University. Her philosophy and belief is that art and creativity can promote growth, healing and transformation.
Caroline is dedicated to working with children, adolescents and young adults. She believes that it is important that people of all ages feel seen and heard. Caroline has worked in various settings with young people as a preschool teacher, camp director, art educator and art therapist. Currently, she works at her art-based art therapy private practice and as an art therapist at a therapeutic day school. Caroline uses the creative process and her therapeutic skills to work with children and adolescents who are diagnosed with a range of mental illnesses and behavioral issues. She brings an enthusiastic, passionate, and a nurturing approach to all of her clients and students.