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Why I Let Him Paint

I frequently post photos on social media of my son painting at his easel. And I occasionally get questions from other parents asking me about it. Does he make a mess? Do I just give him paint and let him go? Then answers are yes and yes.

At an early age I discovered that for him, painting has a calming effect. Sometimes he paints for 20 minutes, other times it's just five minutes. But when I notice that he’s getting restless and frustrated I ask him if he wants to paint, which he almost always says yes, and he calms down while concentrating on his creation.

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But painting more than just calms him; I feel it allows him the freedom to create and build other important skills as well. He feels pride over what he creates. He experiments with colors, brushes, sponges, fingers, hands and sometimes toy cars or animals. We mix colors together and make new colors. Then there is the whole fine motor skill aspect of it.

Art also develops creativity. Rather than being told what to do, like when I attempted cute Pinterest crafts with him in the past, the directions come from inside him. He decides what to paint, what colors and what brush/sponge/finger/etc. to use. He is free to experiment — and that is what builds creativity.

Sometimes he tells me what he paints, other times he’s not creating anything in particular. We have some of his artwork on display in his room. At times we will look at each one and tell each other which one is our favorite and why.

Art is a process, not an end result. For us, painting is the medium he responds to best. It allows him to explore and experiment while giving him a sense of pride in the end result.

Photos by Maria Manco

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