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.
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.”
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!