When your child comes to you and shows you something they drew or created, instead of saying, “Oh, what a nice drawing of whatever you think it is,” ask the child to tell you all about it. Most likely they’ll have far more to say about it than you would ever be able to tell from just looking at it. This is especially good to use when your child is new to drawing and painting, and you have no idea what you’re looking at.
Example: “Oh Peter! What a great picture of a tree! Your drawing is fantastic!” When you find out it’s not a tree, Peter is crushed and disappointed, or disgusted that you can’t tell the difference between a tree and an intergalactic spaceship. Here, you have just assumed that you know what the drawing is. Instead of assuming, ask. Try a scenario like this: “Oh Peter! That looks really cool (interesting, colorful). Tell me all about it.” Your child will be psyched that mom wants to know more about their creation. They will feel empowered, showing and telling you all about it (especially if there are lots of details that they weren’t able to convey in the drawing). And they will feel proud of themself for what they have created and shared with you.