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DD (3.5) won't/can't draw.

(40 Posts)
Issymum Fri 17-Sep-04 08:58:53

DD1 is 3.5 years old and won't draw. If asked or given the opportunity to draw anything, she'll do a few half-hearted scribbles and then say she can't draw anything except a mouse. There are no lovely stick men or skewy repesentations of the things around her that you would expect at this age. If anything, her drawing has regressed from when she was 2yo.

A bit of background. She seems in all other ways to be developmentally normal. She has excellent fine motor skills - she can colour in neatly, use scissors and do a fine job varnishing her own toe nails! She is almost hyper-observational visually. An example: last month she was reading a library book with DH about the Little Red Tractor. She'd never read the story before and she came to a page with two pictures on it, one in which said Little Red Tractor was pointing one way, one the other. She pointed to the second picture and said 'it's on the wrong side'. She was absolutely right - the sloppy illustrator had drawn the single upright exhaust pipe on the facing-side of the tractor in the first picture, but when he rotated the tractor for the second picture, he had drawn in the exhaust pipe as a wholly visible on the other side. Frankly I thought that this was a bit freaky (of DD not the illustrator!). The mouse thing may have stemmed from an incident with us -she asked DH to draw a mouse. He did and she said it was no good! I had a go and she watched me draw it and said it was better. So I guess she's observed us drawing mice and has fixed a way in her head of representing them.

So wise ones, should I worry about this from a developmental perspective or just from the perspective that she is missing out on something from which children derive enormous pleasure. What can we do to encourage DD to enjoy drawing other than the obvious things of giving her lots of opportunities and praising her efforts. Anyone else encountered this?

Sorry this is so long!

Twiglett Fri 17-Sep-04 09:01:25

message withdrawn

ladymuck Fri 17-Sep-04 09:07:30

No help here, but was unaware that they were even meant to be on to stick people by this stage. Not sure that ds1 (3.5) ahs yet produced anything reconisible. Mind you less opportunity for art etc now ds2 is on his feet and into everything.

foxinsocks Fri 17-Sep-04 09:13:56

wow issymum, that is super observant of her! My dd has just turned 4 (in August) and can't even colour in nicely. In fact, she finds the whole drawing thing a real chore. If I ever ask her if she wants to draw, she always says no and if I ever try and do drawing stuff with her, she loses interest really quickly. I'm not really worried. She focuses on other things - like reading books, dressing up which she loves. I hope she'll do it when she's ready.

One thing I do think (and this may be your dd's issue) is that I believe she doesn't want to do a drawing because she can't immediately pick up a pen and do a perfect drawing IYSWIM. She'll say 'I can't do a picture of a horse' and then she'll try and realise it looks nothing like a horse and say 'I can't draw'. I've tried gentle encouragement but I think she expects to be able to pick up the pencil and pen a masterpiece!!

lou33 Fri 17-Sep-04 09:13:58

ds2 is 3.5 and only scribbles.

Dh is 42 and the same.

Issymum Fri 17-Sep-04 09:21:29

Thank you for all the reassuring responses. Here is a link to developmental stages of drawing Infant Picassos

It's good to know that other children are the same. What really bothers me is DD1's reluctance to draw rather than her inability. I think FoxInSocks may have hit the nail on the head - DD1 won't draw because in her view her drawings aren't good enough, which seems a bit sad when you're only 3.

at the scribbling DH!

foxinsocks Fri 17-Sep-04 09:28:05

it may be because she is so super observant issymum - I doubt I would even have noticed the funnel on the tractor! Perhaps when she starts nursery and realises that others have similar drawing skills, she'll feel better.

One thing my dd loves despite her unwillingness to draw is painting. Does your dd like that? Maybe you could just focus on the colour side of drawing first. If she can colour in nicely, she probably has the skills to draw in her somewhere.

By the way, something they do at school with my dd is get her to trace stuff. Could you get her one of those drawing/tracing books (with see-through paper on top of a picture)? Perhaps she would like to follow the lines rather than think a drawing for herself?

Otherwise I wouldn't worry. It saddened me when I realised my dd didn't want to draw because it wasn't perfect enough but I try not to focus on that because I'm sure if I pushed it, it would only get worse (and I overly praise any drawing offering that comes my way!).

maddiemo Fri 17-Sep-04 10:05:16

Issymum Get her do try things like finger painting in cornflour and water. I do that with my ds4 who will not attempt to draw.

Issymum Mon 20-Sep-04 15:16:12

Thanks for all the suggestions and reassurance on this. We'll forget about drawing and continue to encourage her to paint, finger paint, cut and glue and all the other things she loves doing. Definitely will try her on tracing.

And I'll contrive to stop being so paranoid. Not helped by enlisting her for a competitive school assessment - but that's a whole other thread........

aloha Mon 20-Sep-04 16:10:28

Of all the worries to have Issymum! She sounds as if she's doing brilliantly. I bet she'd love making collages and stuff - lots of sticking and glueing and cutting with bits of glittering stuff and feathers. She can start on your Christmas cards now and save you a packet by December. My poor klutzy ds can't even cut with scissors.

Issymum Mon 20-Sep-04 16:34:19

I know Aloha. I need to Get My Act Together and stop worrying about DD1. She's just fine. Nice idea about the Christmas cards ... any chance of her learning to write before December so that she can address them all too?

fio2 Mon 20-Sep-04 16:39:41

Issymum if its any help my son just draws a head with shoes underneath the chin

all he cares about is that the circle needs shoes

beachyhead Mon 20-Sep-04 16:40:39

On the competitive school assessment, we mastered the drawing bit by teaching DS to draw around his hand. When asked what he had drawn, he pointed at it and said 'my hand' with certain 3 year old disdain. He also drew a big scribble and described it as 'mummy as a baby'. Oh, said she, mummy has a babby - NO said I having just had my second m/c, MUMMY 'as' a baby, almost said 'get it!!!'

So advise on drawing round hand, but not mummy as a baby, which is altogether not likely to look realistic!!!!.

motherinferior Mon 20-Sep-04 16:43:26

Oooh, Issymum, let's get her and my dd1 - another cutter-out - on a production line. Warbling Twinkle Twinkle as they go.

whitefeather Mon 20-Sep-04 16:44:05

yeah id agree with fingerpaining ect the more you try and get her to draw she'll not wants to! i tend to buy lots of stickers and sparkly jewels to stick on paper, and glitter, and get some lovely results! find argos catologue very handy we cut ot all the toys and make lovely pics! anyway how cute are those scribbly pics...

aloha Mon 20-Sep-04 16:49:01

The way she's going Issymum, I have every confidence that she will address them, stamp them and take them to the post box by December

Issymum Mon 20-Sep-04 16:50:57

This isn't the right thread for it but I can't hold it back any longer....

Our nearest school is a lovely State infant school which will be perfect for DD1, but our house is inconveniently equidistant between that and another over-subscribed schools so we can't be sure of getting either our first or second choice. So as 'education insurance' and with zero enthusiasm I'm enrolling DD1 for an assessment at a competitive private school.

I found out last week that the assessment is in THREE stages, each lasting over an hour. In one assessment she will be assessed individually by four teachers and will be asked to sing a nursery rhyme (do you think the first two lines of "Bob The Builder" will count?), draw a picture etc., in another her 'social interaction will be observed in a group situation'. (I have visions of toddlers being asked to role play 'conflict management scenarios').

It's unbelievable - I've recruited senior lawyers with less scrutiny than that.

The nadir came when the registrar kindly reassured me 'Don't worry, there won't be a written test.' Written test?!! FFS she is 3 years old.

Phew! Feel much better now.

tamum Mon 20-Sep-04 17:00:24

Blimey, that's a bit heavy! I do like the idea of the conflict management though

I'm sorry, I hadn't seen this thread before, but I would bet foxinsocks is right. My dd is a real little perfectionist, can't bear to do things unless she can do them properly. Interestingly, loking back, she was quite late drawing, but went instantly to whole proper people, she never did the arms-coming-out-of-the-head thing. She's very observant, like your dd, and sometimes despairs because her drawings are not like she thought they would be when they were in her head. She's a really good little artist now though (not just my opinion, honest). My bet would be that your dd will start drawing soon, and will be straight to "real" pictures.

Good luck with the assessment!

motherinferior Mon 20-Sep-04 17:00:44

WRITTEN TEST????????????????????

And how the feck are three year olds supposed to interact in a group situation????

tamum Mon 20-Sep-04 17:03:07

God, I just read back and saw the bit about being assessed by *4* teachers- please tell me not all at once? I have visions of a long table with your little dd sitting on a chair facing them all

Forgot to say, I love the idea of the shoes under the chin Fio!

Issymum Mon 20-Sep-04 17:04:01

By the way, I love the idea of cheating at assessments by teaching your child to draw round his hand!

I'm also right behind Aloha and MI's notion of a festive sweat-shop for the DDs.

aloha Mon 20-Sep-04 17:07:31

ds would fail all of that in that sort of situation. It makes the average job interview look like a chat.

binkie Mon 20-Sep-04 17:08:31

Conflict management is not so far off ... the typical trick is a table with five little girls but only four toys.

Leaving aside the inescapable seethy feelings about pressures on tinies, you might find she actually thinks it's all huge fun. Not that I know, but I suspect that's what those sorts of schools are really looking for anyway, and not note-perfect singing at all.

aloha Mon 20-Sep-04 17:08:54

I also think he would fail at Christmas card making. He's terribly good at pretending to be a Cbeebies Tv presenter though . Would that do, do you think?

Issymum Mon 20-Sep-04 17:10:13

Thanks everyone, I'm trying to multi-task with work and getting behind the thread!

No, I don't think it's all the teachers at once, although that wouldn't surprise me either. I frankly think the whole assessment enterprised is doomed from the start. Last week DD1 met our new-nanny-to-be and her husband; she chatted readily with the nanny but wouldn't even look at her husband. After they'd gone she announced that she liked the new nanny (relief), but didn't like her husband (panic). Why not? She pointed disdainfully to her forearm and pronounced 'hairy'. If one of the assessing teachers is a little on the hirsute side or perhaps is challenged by a few hairs sprouting from a mole, we're completely sunk.

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