Drawing With My Son

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My son seems to grow up a little more every night. I know that someday, sooner than I want to accept, my son will not be asking to spend time with me (at least not the way he does now). In the meantime, I want to create special memories and find common ground. I hope that by doing so, I will be laying the foundation for a solid, healthy relationship as my son grows up. Enter: drawing.

It was by a little stroke of luck that I discovered my son shares my joy of drawing. It started with me bringing home a few kids’ how to’ books from the library on a whim. Paging through, he found several things he wanted to try and draw. Thus began our special time together.

A few nights a week, after his little sister is in bed, my son and I take out our sketchbooks. Sometimes we free draw, but mostly we use instructional books or videos. We spend fifteen to twenty minutes drawing together, coloring in our work, and discussing each other’s finished product.

Two of our favorite drawing resources are:

  • Watch Me Read & Draw: These books by Samantha Chagollan incorporate step-by-step instructions with a lighthearted children’s story. We’ve learned to draw everything from pets to dinosaurs to ocean life. 
  • Art for Kids Hub: These instructional Youtube videos are family-friendly, cover various skill levels, and are searchable so you can pick exactly what you want to draw. My son and I love to pick videos related to upcoming holidays or something we’ve recently learned about.

Over the past several months, our sketchbooks have become our special treasures. Not only do they show our creative evolution, but they also contain little notes and special pictures we’ve drawn for each other when we trade notebooks. My son takes such pride in his progress. It makes my mama heart burst.

I’ve also learned a few additional lessons along the way.

    • Encourage rather than try to correct. There is no wrong way to draw (unless it’s on the wall or carpet). I tend to be a rule follower and want my drawing to look just like the instructor’s, but that’s not always what my son wants.
    • Never assume I know what my son has drawn. Making an assumption can change my son’s perspective on his work and take away its originality. His drawing does not need to fit in any box or even be something recognizable/nameable.
    • Ask questions and mind your comments. My favorites include: “What inspired you to do that?”, “Tell me more about your work.”, “I love your color choice.” and “You can tell you took your time drawing this.”

Drawing has become a great shared activity for my son and me. It’s created a special time just for the two of us when we can find stillness and calm and tap into our creativity. Plus, drawing has strengthened our relationship. I can only hope to hold on to this special time and bond as life changes, and we both grow up.

 

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Jaclynn knows a good thing when she sees it, that’s why she and her husband, Dave, decided to raise their son and daughter in Brookfield, the same Milwaukee suburb where they grew up. After earning her English degree from UW-Madison, Jaclynn attended Marquette University Law School and worked for several years at a small Milwaukee firm practicing estate planning and elder law. When her son was born a few year ago, she followed her heart and became a SAHM. She is now the mother of two, having welcomed a daughter last June. When she's not managing her family circus, you can find Jaclynn instructing or taking classes at the Barre Code. Jaclynn would be lost without dessert, family friendly breweries, books, comfy pants, and the moms who have helped her navigate the labyrinth that is ‘momming’.

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