Perfect Rainbows – It’s the process, not the end result that matters.

Maybe we just can’t see the rainbow!

Are you looking at all the perfect rainbows in all the windows as you struggle down the street to queue outside the supermarket? Or are you scrolling online and seeing post after post of amazing artwork created by all the children being homeschooled?

Without a lot of guidance and adult intervention most children under the age of, probably, about seven or eight are not able to produce anything that most would consider ‘worthy of the ‘gram.’ Of course, anything a child produces is a masterpiece, even if you don’t know which way up it goes! But mostly these pieces of art don’t make it online. They are not pinned on Pinterest for the world to admire and this causes unrealistic expectations.

Even in nurseries, children are sending home quite amazing pieces of work which, from my experience, is mostly done by the adults. When left to their own devices children like nothing more than mixing all the colours of paint or rubbing the pen or pencil so much on the same spot it makes a hole in the paper. Sometimes they stick one piece of sellotape on a cardboard box and have ‘finished’ their creation. This is the reality, but it’s not what is sent home or shared on online.

If you have given your child some lovely colours of paint for them to create a rainbow for the window and ended up with a brown blob do not despair. What did they learn and experience through the process? They were learning lots of different skills and techniques and that should be the main focus of any activity rather than the outcome. Learning how to hold a paintbrush so they can create the marks they want on the paper. Judging how much paint to use. 

An image of a rainbow

Discovering that if they haven’t cleaned the brush (like you told them several times to) between using different colours they won’t get the colour they expected. Oh, and then they think so what will happen if I mix three different colours? And then inevitably (depending on their age) they think that the paint looks so nice it must feel nice too and they start painting their hands and squishing it all up and smearing it all over the paper and then it has become a brown blob and not a pretty rainbow for the window. But maybe we just can’t see the rainbow! If your child can see the rainbow then it’s a rainbow!

I find that unless your child has chosen to be creative or expressed an interest in creating something with a determined outcome they won’t produce what you are expecting or hoping they will. Your children will gain so much more from having access to creative materials and carte blanche to create whatever they like rather than being asked to sit down and make a rainbow/cat/house.

So, lower your expectations and relish the skills they are gaining and perfecting. Take delight in their pleasure when squishing the paint through their fingers! Join them and see how nice it feels too! Make rainbows together. Brown, squishy rainbows can be perfect too.

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