Decode Your Child’s Coloring Pages
Children want to give color, and their work is a reflection of their inner world. Most kids don’t think about or censor their artwork. For the past 40 years, I’ve used children’s Colouring Pages as an important part of my pediatric practice. At each well-child visit start at four or five 5 years old, our nurse asks the child to “give color a picture of your loved ones doing something.” To simplify the process, each exam room is equipped with blank white newspaper on a clipboard with a black color felt pen.
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The family colouring helps me review development at confirmed moment in time, and it could tip me off to potential problems. An individual color is a snapshot of your child’s point of view — of her role in the family, her relationship to other family, and her self-esteem. It also may show strengths in the kid and the family that are important to identify and validate. It could indicate cultural patterns that give me an improved knowledge of some manners or beliefs. I always ask the parents because of their impression of the coloring page, because our conversation can yield even more information that might not exactly come up usually.
A big caveat here: Most of us want to find hidden meanings in Color Pages, but watch out for overinterpreting. It isn’t a good idea to read too much into your child’s sketches. Instead, use them as an opportunity to talk with your son or daughter about what she or he has drawn. Then ask questions about them to enhance communication between you. Do your very best to avoid supplying too many of your own impressions. I purposely keep the dialog very open-ended: “Tell me about your coloring. Who will be the people in the picture? What exactly are they doing?” For types of what you might be looking for with your own children, check out my analysis of the kids’ Coloring Web pages.
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This first picture is a great exemplory case of how artwork can be a springboard for conversation. It was drawn by a patient of mine when she was 11. She had lived exclusively with her mom since birth and she’s no siblings. On the top, her physical health, schoolwork, and interpersonal development were just fine. But she made friends little by little and she was unusually cautious about leaving her mom to go to friends’ residences. She preferred to have friends come to her house and play while her mother was nearby. I had been worried that their close bond got truly in the way of her learning how to separate from her mother, which really is a necessary part of development.
I hadn’t been able to get this point across at prior office trips. But with this coloring, I had developed an opening. The way they were located so closely mutually, and the fact that a brief string linked the mother and girl, stood out if you ask me. AFTER I asked Mother, “What do you think concerning this picture?” she in the beginning talked happily about her daughter’s coloring skills. But she admitted that she could see what I’d been hoping to say about their romantic relationship. We could actually speak about it, and she still left the office motivated to help her little girl (and herself ) learn how to divide psychologically while preserving their loving and close relationship.
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Colouring skills often get started to tell a story in kindergarten. Although kids as of this age tend to use simple stay figures, you will often pick things up from cosmetic expressions, where members of the family are put, and what they’re doing. This second picture, drawn by way of a 5-year-old girl, is an exemplory case of that. She drew her mother on the way left, accompanied by the family dog, her daddy, herself, and her 8-year-old sibling. The girl drew herself as larger than her parents — this typically demonstrates good self-esteem. It’s worth noting that she placed herself between her father and brother: When children are between 4 and 6 years old, they create a sense with their gender identity. As part of this normal developmental process, girls often get physically and emotionally nearer to their daddy (kids this age tend to get closer to their mom), and the thoughts are temporary.