Young children’s drawings offer valuable clues as to what they are thinking and feeling. Often their artwork tells stories far more clearly than their words. Parents and professionals have long used looking at kids’ art as a way of listening to them.
Three studies presented at the 2001 annual meeting of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in London begin to put this practice on a scientific footing. By asking children ages 5-7 to draw a picture of their families, researchers were able to find connections between the size, position, and omitted body parts of family members and the child’s mental state as measured in separate testing.
It seems to me that drawing, especially combined with storytelling, might be a great way for us to communicate to our children, as well as a way for us to listen to them.