Wednesday 29 February 2012


What to Do If Your Child Does Not Like to Do Colouring?

Colouring is an important pre-schooler's activity, as it helps them to practise pencil grip and control. It is precusory to learning to write. It also teaches patience and determination. The book "On Becoming Pre-Schoolwise" by Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam wrote that colouring and puzzles are some activities that would teach a child attention span and concentration skills, which are very important skills, when starting school. And it has to be developed from young.

Recently, I am vexed that Joshua doesn't seemed to be taking any interest in colouring activity. I have been trying to find ways to encourage him, and today I have made some head way. I hope it will continue, and I will add to this post more strategies on what to do, if your child does not like colouring.

Here are some ways that worked for me:

1. Start Bedtime Routine Earlier

Start the bedtime routine earlier, so that it leaves you enough time to squeeze in colouring activity, before your child goes to bed. Most children would not want to go to bed and sleep. So I will give Joshua a choice - Do you want to sleep now or do just one more page of colouring. Given the choice of going to bed and colouring, he would choose colouring anytime.

2. Use Oil Pastels

I gave Joshua colour pencils and wax crayons, but he didn't like it. The colours were too bland and not rich. He lost interest. Actually I lost interest too. Joshua never did complete his colouring. Below is one such incomplete work.

Then I remember that when I was a child, I used oil pastels to paint, and I really enjoyed it. Thus, I bought this for Joshua from Singapore. I tried it today, and it was an instant hit. For the first time, he completed colouring his sheet (of course, the fact that I timed it just before bedtime helped).

This is what he coloured today. I started him off by helping him to colour the mother duck. Joshua (2Y11M24D) coloured the duckings, the water, the grass and the flowers. It was the first time, that he actually completed colouring the whole picture!

Joshua clearly prefers oil pastels to wax crayons or colour pencils. Oil pastels' colours are much more vivid and blendable. It has inspired Joshua to sit and colour. I highly recommend it, if you want to encourage your child to enjoy colouring activity. You can also buy it from Amazon below:

3. Do Colouring Yourself

Lead by example. Initially, I was simply giving instructions to Joshua, "Joshua, please colour this. You should colour here, etc." This is because I wanted him to be independent and do things himself.

It suddenly don on me that maybe, I should start doing it myself, and hopefully it would inspire him. So today, I started by first colouring the mother duck with the oil pastels. In the process, I wanted to teach Joshua that colouring can be fun, and that it gives great satisfaction to see your completed work. It seemed to have worked. When I handled the oil pastels to him, he began to colour it with more attention and care.

4. Discipline

The book "On Becoming Pre-Schoolwise" by Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam recommends that if your child is not happy about doing a proper job by colouring a sheet properly, but simply scribble the picture in 30 seconds and jumping on to the next picture or activity, give him back a new sheet with the same picture and ask him to colour it nicely. Set the timer to 5 minutes, and tell him that he cannot leave, even if he has completed the work. He has to sit there until the timer goes. After a few rounds of repeated sheet, he would know that he won't be able to get away. The child would then sit down and take the time to colour properly. I tried this method with my 4 year old nephew in Singapore and it worked. Upon giving him back the sheet with the same picture to colour again, he did a perfect and beautiful job, colouring the picture fully and within the lines.

5. Pray

Lastly and most importantly, I always believe that you can have a plan, but pray hard to God to change the heart of your child from the inside. You must do your part to encourage and pray and ask God to do His part too. Pray also for wisdom from God to find strategies that would work for your child. Pray also for patience and His peace to surround you. I have been praying for a week, and today, I had a break-through with colouring with Joshua.

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