When you look at this picture you may be confused – did a child draw that?! I know. It’s not my finest work. I even considered not sharing it at all, concerned it would risk my reputation. Sod that. I want to help other parents of bilingual children and I want to do it with honesty.
This drawing is from this morning, rushed in between the school run and popping out again to go to the shops. I was writing a shopping list and my 2,5 year old, seeing me with pend and paper, asked me to draw her. I have recently deferred her requests rather frequently because I’m ‘busy’ with other things, so I need to give her more attention. I stopped what I was doing and quickly drew a picture her with the stripy dress she was wearing. She was pleased with her drawing.
Despite our personal concerns about our artistry, children love whatever we parents do. That, and the process, is what really matters. And then she asked me to draw her sister too.
What do you mean, this is an opportunity for language acquisition?
Drawing with our children can be such a wonderful bonding experience and a fantastic a learning opportunity.
The thing is, kids love drawing. As it happens, I love drawing too. I don’t think I’m good at it, but I take great pleasure from it. So, anything kids love doing, and parents also like or at least not detest, is a good start.
Those five minutes gave us an opportunity to talk about body parts (she kept asking me to add this hands, long hair, etc), patterns, clothes and sizes. If we were at our usual play area, with all the kit nearby, we could have talked about colours and even textures.
It’s a process
I do this kind of thing a lot with my girls – a spot of drawing, small quick crafty projects. For me, it’s a process more than a destination. I’m not looking for polished ‘instagramable’ images. Just making something with my children (which I will inevitably throw away later), the process itself is so valuable for boding and learning languages. I just really enjoy those moments and know they do too.
The take way from this?
Take 5 minutes. We are all busy parents. If your child asks you to draw, or perhaps you’re bored somewhere waiting for something or someone, get pen and paper, and do it. Take 5 minutes of your busy day, just the two of you. Their eyes will hang on every stroke of your pen or pencil, just like my youngest did, and just how I did when my mum drew for me when I was little.