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Project 3: Having the energy to help your child

Subject of drawing: The worst change would be...

This project is designed to help you better understand the changes your children fear. Some of the fears might be realistic-- maybe a move is likely, a change in schools or financial resources. Some fears are unlikely but very real. Children may express fears that others will die or go away. This allows you to begin to understand their concerns and take steps to reassure them each day.

Interview sentences 

Before talking about the drawings, ask each child to complete the following open-ended statements about their picture. One at a time read aloud the fill-in-the-blank statements below. Write completed sentences on the back of the picture, or ask them to tell you what to write.

The name of my picture is:
I wish I could:
If I could change one thing I would:
Sometimes it seems like: 
Don’t ever expect me to:
What I need most today is:

Show and tell

After completing the sentences, tell your children that you hope they will share something about their drawing. Tell them that they can share whatever they want to share, and suggest they begin by reading the sentences that summarize the picture.

If children agree to share, ask who will go first and begin the process taking turns. If children are reluctant to share you may share your drawing first. Read the sentences on the back of your picture. Model a brief show and tell so they learn that sharing even a little is okay. Then ask if they have questions about your drawing. Continue taking turns.

After each family member shares his thoughts, ask if it would be okay for family members to share their reflections about the drawing. If this is okay, take the first turn and model appropriate, uncritical reflections. It is important not to comment about the quality of a picture but to focus on its content. For example: Martha, I noticed you are very tiny in the picture or Sam, I noticed you used only the black crayon today. (Words for all to avoid: nice, good, pretty, beautiful, ugly, dumb, etc.)

Round table discussion

Talk about fears that have not come to pass, even if they are fears that you had growing up. Everyone has fears and most often our fears do not play out. It is a good idea to talk about times that the family has met unexpected challenges - it is reassuring to realize that family members survive despite occasional failure. You may close with a favorite poem, meditation or prayer inviting children to help by reading or reciting a selection.

Read more about this project.

Art Exercises© Jeanne D. Ritterson 1998

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