I admit it, I am a former toddler artiste. Sorry, Mom – but your bright walls were the perfect canvas to share my waxy, priceless masterpieces. So was the tv, the undersides of tables and anything you generously left lying around for me to enhance.
For whatever reason, those colourful paper stacks are probably not your toddler’s creative medium of choice. They may be testing your patience or their boundaries, getting a taste for rebellion, experimenting – or maybe the world is just a sparkly colouring book ready to be filled in. Either way, here are some solutions to control those fits of artistic expression – and help keep you sane.
1. Store art materials out of reach and supervise time designated for colouring and painting. Cover the work space to emphasise the point, and encourage a fun cleanup afterwards.
2. If your toddler is thirsting for new mediums of expression, provide outlets for their creativity. Create spaces where artwork is encouraged. Try chalk on the sidewalk or large paper canvases.
3. Give in and assign a wall just for drawing on. If this is a stretch, try washable crayons, window markers or get a giant whiteboard, a chalkboard with colourful chalk, or giant paper canvases. If you do go this route, and your bare walls are off limits, make sure to protect them appropriately before sticking anything up.
4. Toddlers don’t understand that graffiti is wrong – teach them to write on paper and celebrate their work by showcasing it. Be a step ahead with washable markers and materials, but make it part of the learning process.
5. In the same spirit as tip 3, embrace the stage by controlling the time. My mom allowed for a wildly popular “scribble and spill day” – with an afternoon dedicated to every whim of my artful genius and when she was prepared to keep an extra keen eye on me. The controlled chaos might be just exciting enough to stick to.