You'll soon be noticing some changes in those scribbles. When a toddler first learns to make a mark on paper (around 12 to 15 months), it's all he can do to grasp the crayon — he used his whole fist to hang onto it. He progresses to being able to make straight lines and random squiggles, with most of the motion coming from his wrist. Around 2 1/2, though, a preschooler's fingers develop better dexterity. He can now grasp the crayon between his thumb and fingers. This gives him better control, and some recognizable shapes will start to appear on the paper: primitive stick people, circles, and rainbows. Give your child lots of opportunity to use art materials. Provide different kinds: fat crayons, fat pencils and colored pencils, nonpermanent markers, sidewalk chalk, watercolor, clay or Play-Doh. Don't get too caught up in the what of the art; it's the how that your child is focusing on now.
Your life nowRunning out of ways to say "no" to your child? Here are some fresh alternatives:
- Give him what he wants in fantasy: "I wish I could l buy all the dolls in this store for you! But I can't buy any dolls today. Should we take your baby doll or Raggedy Ann to the park today?"
- Empathize: "I know how much you'd like to eat dessert first. That would be tasty! I bet the cake will taste good after supper, too."
- Acknowledge and delay: "I see you don't want to leave. Let's go down the slide two more times before we go."
- Go for the silly diversion: "Crayons are for writing on the paper, not the table ... Hey, look at this crazy crayon — I can't make it stop drawing circles!"