Here are some tips on talking to children about their “work” - their painting, writing, lego or playdoh creation, whatever they create. These tips can help Indian parents further develop the confidence, curiosity and creativity of our children.
- Emphasize the process of creating and not just the end product.
- Unfortunately, many Indian schools and parents tend to emphasize the end product. Due to this, parents tend to polish the kids project and the teachers do the art for young kindergartners.
- It is better that the children’s work remains theirs. It is better for their self esteem as corrections make them feel that their work was inadequate
- Not polishing the work of children also teaches children's lessons in integrity early on
- The process is important for children because they learn a lot from the different stages of creating and not just the “final pretty picture”.
- Kids will initially explore and will do representational work (work that resembles something or someone specific) later. That is why children’s art, if not tampered by adults, is usually more abstract.
- Let children explore many different materials in the process. For example, let children stick pencil sharpening pieces on their painting.
- Encourage this exploration and trying out new things. Creativity does not have to conform to rules. Think of children's work as art where unlimited exploration is a great benefit.
- Many times, kids start out making something and then the end result looks very different. For example, a child who first uses a lot of bright colours and then splashes black all over later. The painting might not be your idea of prettiness but the child has learnt a lot about mixing of colours in this process.
- Avoid labelling and judgements. Instead, comment on the process, methods and elements that the child uses while creating. For example, instead of a quick generic “Great job”, show real interest in their work. You could comment on how they have created. For example, “I see that you have used a lot of bright colours or lines or dots”. If you are talking to someone and your child shows you something, it could even be a quick, “I see that” and come back to comment about their work later.
- Encourage your child to talk about their work. For example, “Tell me about your painting”. Ask open-ended questions instead of specific questions so that they have more to think and say.
- And when they talk, listen actively and show real interest in their work. Remember it is best to talk to them when they need to versus when you have the time. When they need to talk to you is the time when they are most receptive to listening and learning. So seize that moment.
Above all, encourage the feeling of enjoyment and satisfaction in creating something.
Now enjoy the works of those budding M.F. Hussains!