“Mama, do you like my picture?” says my then 6 year old middle, lefty, resourceful, observant, think outside the box kid.
Readers, how you answer your child’s questions help grow that cute, widdle brain under that hat or fizzle out the creative fire. Be mindful.
In the example above, I was honestly thinking “this doesn’t seem like 1st grade work”…until I said, “Tell me about your picture, Ava.” To which she replied, “It’s from inside a monster’s mouth looking out. This is the tongue and you are peering through the teeth to see out!”
That is WAAAAY cooler than the field, scribbly mountains, and clouds I thought it was in my mind.
Think Magnet Tips: Don’t call out your interpretation. Use the moment as an opportunity for them to tell you about it. Asking “what is it?” tells a child that it HAS to be something and many times kids are just enjoying the process and that is awesome enough. Creative processes and brainstorming without an “it” in mind is a marvelous place of growth and future salaries.
My usual responses are something like: “Tell me more!” or “I can’t wait to hear about this!” or “You’ve been working so hard on this project” to which they usually start blabbing. As they’ve gotten older I’ve mixed in some “from this angle I see something different, can you guess?” or “I see what you’re saying, can you think of a different way to use/see it?”
For me, the “Monster Mouth” moment reminded me not to get trapped in expectations of what should be, but escape to a place with endless possibilities.