I've been struggling to find my place (role?) in my 2.5 year-old's art journey. I've already written about how I have a bit of visual art-o-phobia
. I've been doing some thinking and came up with some questions.
Do you do art WITH your child? If your child is say, painting, do you paint with him/her? Or do you sit and watch? Or do something unrelated nearby, but check in often (i.e. fold laundry)?
I know this is probably individual to both the parent and child's disposition. I guess where I'm coming from is reading in a few art books (Susan Striker's
) that parent's should NOT model doing the art for the child, because we will automatically limit their expression if they see the parent doing it a particular way (whether it's the "right" way or not). So I've tried really hard to just let Silas do the art his own way.
But he often says, "Mama, you draw, too," and I feel weird about saying No. I usually say, "No, I like to watch you draw." But then he usually gets bored and goes on to something else (even if I'm sitting right there with him).
What do you think? Do you think that parents doing art WITH their child automatically limits their experience with the materials?
I want Silas to have as much freedom as possible to express himself. But I also, personally, know the feeling of being overwhelmed by too many possibilities.
I know toddlers LOVE to imitate the adults in their lives (the words that come out of Silas's mouth attest to this fact, unfortunately!). So where does creative expression fit in? Silas dances his own way when he moves to music - he's not "copying" my moves for the most part. But learning songs, he does sing to the "right" tune. Where does visual art fit in? Is it best to model, to let them have complete free reign, or do a bit of both?
I will add that I have never had any issue with doing playdough with Silas. For some reason "modeling" that activity has never sent up warning bells for me. It's more drawing, painting, coloring, etc. that send up my worry flags. And really, I wonder if it's because those are the activities that I have the least confidence about my own abilities. Hmmm.