A usual scene at home- Mercury rises whenever your child sits and colours on a piece of paper. Is he colouring within lines? Is he colouring the leaves in green, sun in yellow and water in blue colour? The activity which is meant for enjoyment is turned into a mission, snatching away all the fun from it. We try and make it only a knowledge enhancing and informative session for the child.
PTMs in school– It is a common scene during the parent teacher meetings in school where the teacher is seen delivering a sermon to parents on how they should make the child colour within lines. Some teachers even have the audacity to take this a step further and keep a perfect sample of coloured picture with them which is used to set an expectation for children.
Parents wish for their child to be a perfect soul since childhood. They want their child to start walking, speaking, eating and achieving all milestones in a blink. The natural process of growth and development happens gradually. Childhood is all about imperfections- messing with food, scribbling with colours or playing in sand helps in tactile development of your child. These imperfections are conducive for growth of children.
So, is it correct when parents push their child to colour within lines and lay rules for colouring? Should parents leave this territory for children to explore freely?
Colouring helps in creative expression as well as improvement of fine motor skills. We need to determine our objective first. Undoubtedly, Colouring develops finger and wrist dexterity, hand eye coordination but for young children colouring within lines offers no special advantages. I had a close friend in school, because of the beginning letters of our names she always sat adjacent to me during examinations. All those years I just noticed one thing that her answer sheets were written in an untidy manner. They were full of cuts and crosses, few places on the sheet appeared like a labyrinth from a distance. Her handwriting had a poor rhythm and many inconsistencies. By school parameters, she was a mediocre student who was poor in Art as a subject. We are still in touch, a few months back she discovered her passion for painting and shared this painting which she has made-This is the actual photo clicked by a phone and was used to make the painting. According to her, she made the painting through some effortless strokes. I was pleasantly surprised to see her artistic bent. Her example further strengthened my belief that perfect colouring does not hone our creative skills. It did not help her discover her inborn talent during all those school years. School is a place where teachers and educators help children realize their innate potential and work on their opportunity areas. But it took her almost two decades after leaving the school to realize her natural talent.
It is generally seen that children have a vivid imagination, you tell them something and they have an innate power to visualize that image in their mind’s eye. They express their emotions, multitude of thoughts and out of the box ideas through their drawing and colouring. They are born explorers who love to experiment with shapes, designs, colours and objects around. As soon as we restrict them between those black lines we are leashing their thoughts and limiting their imagination. What is a child without free spirit. A child is like a budding flower, the flower fully blooms when it gets a right mix of water, air, sunlight and soil. Similarly a child’s mind grows unhindered when we allow them to explore without restrictions. Unfortunately we do not realize this and make colouring a tedious and daily chore.
So stop fussing and let the child just have fun. Young children make blobs of colour here and there or drawing circles on the picture. They learn to write or colour at their own pace, some start scribbling with both the hands initially. It is best not to lay rules for your child till they are using their full arm for scribbling. Parents can give them ample material to explore and learn himself.
Perfect colouring comes with improvement in fine motor skills and focus. Parents can avoid comparing their child with his peers as deviation from normal shows their imagination and free thinking style. Colouring is a form of self expression and should not be reduced to a daily chore.Colouring is therapeutic and let the children play with colours. Is the water really blue or sun actually yellow. We push our children to colour the sun yellow and water blue. What’s the fuss around these specific colours for certain objects. Let us set the facts right and delve a little deeper into the subject of Science. Blue hue of water is an intrinsic property and is caused by selective absorption and scattering of white light. So water is actually not blue. Our Sun appears yellow to us because of the atmosphere. Actually, the Sun looks like a pure white ball. If you could travel into space and look at the Sun without going blind, you’d find that it’s actually white, and not yellow.
Free hand doodling gives ample scope for creative expression. Making children colour within lines of an image in a book is meaningless as they connect with their own drawings in a better way. So it is better to give a blank piece of paper instead of an expensive colouring book.
Creative expression knows no boundaries. In light of this, why do teachers sometimes try so hard to make everyone do the same thing, at the same time, in the same way? Can we encourage our young students to color and think outside of the lines? Let us not crumble the wild imagination of young children. We can nurture a free thinker who has the potential to use his imagination for the benefit of mankind. That’s how inventions and discoveries are done.
Formative years of children can be best utilized by putting minimum pressure on children and allowing them to freely discover their natural surroundings in an unhindered manner. By the time they grow up each kid will colour in lines so do not fume or fret on messy colouring. It calls for a celebration as you are a working in the right direction!Picture credits- bjj-australia.blogspot.com