Growing Your Child’s Creativity With Constructive Criticism

Growing Your Child's Creativity With Constructive Criticism

Nuria from the The Adventures Archive is here today to share some great advice on giving our children honest and useful feedback.

By now we all know how crucial it is to foster our children’s creativity. Painting, cooking, dancing, playing an instrument…whatever their activity choice if we want to ignite their creative spark it is important to learn the best way to constructively criticize their work.

Criticism shouldn’t be avoided. It is, after all, a gift of knowledge and values. But it requires a fine balance: kids creativity cannot evolve in an environment of constant critiques and inadequate praise can also be detrimental because it doesn’t leave any room for improvement. Critiques need to send messages of both respect and support.

Growing Your Child's Creativity With Constructive Criticism

Chuck Jones, the talented animator behind characters like Bugs Bunny and Road Runner, has talked about constructive criticism: -“when a kid brings you a drawing don’t just look at the work, look at him. If you can see that your kid is proud of his work you should promote that pride to increase his self-esteem. But if the child is not happy with what he’s done don’t say to him “that’s wonderful”, because that’s not going to make him feel better. He knows that the drawing is not wonderful. If you give praise regardless he will lose the trust in you and may end up not interested in sharing his future works with you.”

Growing Your Child's Creativity With Constructive Criticism

Here you have a few more ideas to balance your critiques:

  • Follow the sandwich approach: offer him positive feedback before and after informing what needs to be improved. For example, if your kid has been playing the guitar for half an hour you may say to him: “You nailed the strumming today. You might want to improve the position of the finger on the second chord. Overall you’ve improve lots from yesterday and I can see that you’ve put lots of passion on it so I’m really proud of you”.
  • Ask your child’s point of view: try to see the work from his perspective before offering an unjust criticism. A flower in a drawing may seem too big to you but inside his little hands it is big so it is only natural that he draws it that way.
  • Be specific: don’t just use general adjectives: “lovely”, “beautiful”. Pick up a detail and comment on it: “I love the blue you used in this sky”, “I thought that particular pirouette was really creative”
  • Spend time showing him the masters of his passions: if he likes drawing take him to your local museum. If music is his passion be sure that he listens to the classics. Ask him what is it that he likes of a particular masterpiece or what part of it he would like to learn. Your next feedback will benefit from this info.

 

Have you got more ideas about how to constructively criticize your kid’s work? Drop me a comment, I’d love to read them!

Nuria

Meet Nuria Pérez Paredes, a supernova mama, world-class creative director, and random-acts-of-creativity renegade. Nuria sparks genius by teaching creative-thinking techniques in schools and helping families improve their parenthood skills. She holds a MA in Advertising from Accademia di Comunicazione in Milan and a diploma in Executive & Creative Coaching from Noble Manhattan in London. Nuria loves writing, playing the ukulele, and dunking biscuits in tea. She lives in Madrid with her two daughters and enjoys blogging about their creative endeavors over at The Adventures Archive.

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  1. I teach preschool and have many girls In particular draw a picture them seek empty praise. Some don’t even put any effort into the drawing or painting. They simply produce something then ask me if I like it.
    It is sad that they seek this empty attention from me and I don’t give it. I ask them if they like it and “when” they say yes I ask them what they like? I might then look at another part of the picture and ask them to tell me what’s going on over here?

    1. That is very interesting Melanie, I would be curious to learn what kind of attention those girls have at home, since they seem so eager to have yours in the classroom. I think your tactic of moving their attention to another part of the picture is so clever. Thanks so much for your comment!

  2. I have the same issue as above, students (kindergarten) looking for empty praise. I often have to “dig” deeper to get them to tell me about their drawings. I love some of the tips mentioned here, I will be trying them out in the coming school year! With appreciation, love from Laos. 🙂

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