What to Say When Your Child Doesn’t do His Best Work.

What to Say When Your Child Doesn’t do His Best Work.


Our children present their artworks and block structures to us because they want us to share in their excitement. But, when their efforts are less than impressive we may be afraid to respond in case our feedback puts them on the spot and they may learn to dislike correction and avoid imperfection. That’s not ideal, because creative people often start their projects with very imperfect first drafts and mistakes can lead to valuable discoveries.

Next time, when your child hasn’t done his best, don’t lie and say, “This is stunning!” Also, don’t say, “It’s good, but not as great as your better ones” or, “This is terrible! It looks as if this man was hit by a bus!” Simply, don’t offer any opinion about quality! Do ask questions and talk about thoughts and options.

Ask questions such as, “What is your plan with this?” “What do you see here?” or “Are you trying something?” If your child is very young, ask questions about colours or whether he enjoyed working with the paper, crayons, etc.

When giving advice is appropriate, keep it simple, e.g. “Are you going to leave the man undressed?” or “Are you planning to add something to the background?”

So, in summary, avoid talking about quality and instead, talk about what your child thinks and may do next.