Can you help w/ my "crayon" dilemma. - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 22 Old 10-22-2007, 04:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DS is 2.5.

Since about 18mths old, he has loved to color. Recently it has become a problem. We've had the occassional drawing on the table, but it hasn't been a big deal, because we know it was intentional, just him drawing too fast, and off of the paper...

Lately we've had issues. The other day, he decided he was going to start using the crayons on objects, 1st, his potty chair. I noticed the black crayon on his seat, and pointed it out to him, and explained we only draw on paper.

I cleaned the seat (love that Mr. Clean's "magic eraser").. The next day, he does it again. This time, I take away the crayons for a few hrs. I give them back and tell him "only on paper"..

Probably within the next day or two, he's decided that he will break the majority of them in half, and shred the paper off of them. So, in frustration and without his knowledge, I throw away all the broken crayons.

Then he decides to draw on his little basketball hoop.. I lost it, put him in time out, and showed him how we were waving goodbye to his crayons, as he watched me throw them all out. Without sadness, he waved goodbye as they went into the garbage..

So I was starting to feel bad, feeling like I should've handled this differently. I was thinking I would buy crayons later in the day............. I didn't buy them that day, but was planning on buying some that only worked on paper or whatnot. Then, the next morning, I am vacumming and he finds a crayon. I didn't care, and kept vacumming..... I turn around and see him drawing on our television set............... What the heck!!!!!!!!

I'm furious and he went back in our room for a time out...

What happenned, how could he be so good with them, and then so opposite? Was I not getting the point across earlier about using crayons on paper only?


What should I do? He keeps asking for crayons? How long should he not have them for? I'm thinking when I bring them back, it will only be w/ adult supervision.
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#2 of 22 Old 10-22-2007, 04:45 PM
 
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I think this is very typical for the age. We went through this with both of my boys. The only solution for me was to put the crayons up, out of reach. They came out again for supervised coloring time only. I still don't leave them out all the time with my 3 year old, though I can walk away from the table now and trust that he won't draw all over the kitchen - lol.

We also have a chalkboard set up in our living room and both boys are welcome to draw and write all over that whenever the mood strikes.
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#3 of 22 Old 10-22-2007, 04:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Twocoolboys View Post
I think this is very typical for the age. We went through this with both of my boys. The only solution for me was to put the crayons up, out of reach. They came out again for supervised coloring time only. I still don't leave them out all the time with my 3 year old, though I can walk away from the table now and trust that he won't draw all over the kitchen - lol.

We also have a chalkboard set up in our living room and both boys are welcome to draw and write all over that whenever the mood strikes.
This is what we had to do with DS1 at around that age, too. I really think that at that age, they might understand that you don't want them to do it, but don't really get why. DS was completely convinced, no matter how upset I got, that he was just decorating things and making them pretty.
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#4 of 22 Old 10-22-2007, 04:54 PM
 
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He's just not mature enough to get it. As frustrating as it is to have stuff ruined, this is one of those things where the parent really needs to be the responsible party. He's not old enough for unsupervised access to crayons. I would buy him a new box of crayons and make it clear that you will color with him as an activity you share and then you will put the crayons up out of reach.
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#5 of 22 Old 10-22-2007, 05:07 PM
 
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VERY typical for 2.5 years old! At that age, I try not to allow any unsupervised crayon use and I'm careful to keep track of where the crayons go so that I can collect them all when we're done. By 3.5 or so I think my older son was able to do more on his own without my having to worry about scribbles in other places or crayons ground into the couch/carpet.

My two big recommendations:
1. supervise the heck out of crayon use at this age
2. washable crayons/markers

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#6 of 22 Old 10-22-2007, 05:09 PM
 
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My son colored all over the walls the other day with washable crayons and it actually came off.. I was surprised. I don't know if it would come off of everything though. Good luck!
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#7 of 22 Old 10-22-2007, 05:13 PM
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My DD uses her playdoh, crayons, markers, or finger paint in one of two places, her high chair, or a small table and chair. If she gets up, whatever she is using gets put away. The high chair is wooden with a cushioned seat. When she climbs into it I know she wants to draw or play with playdoh. I buy washable markers that rinse off everything with just plain water.
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#8 of 22 Old 10-22-2007, 05:20 PM
 
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DS only gets crayons while strapped in his high chair. I tape his paper to the table. And only 1 crayon at a time. Washable, of course. I'm a tyrant!

Anyhow, op, I think it will be a while before your son understands, no matter what you do. All you can really do is try minimize the damage and keep from getting too worked up about it. In a few years, you'll probably look back and laugh at yourself for expecting so much from a 2-year-old. (I'm speaking from experience here.)
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#9 of 22 Old 10-22-2007, 05:54 PM
 
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Why not give him a magic eraser and have him work at the same time as you? His mess, his responsibility. Not yours. Same with the wrappers. If you want the point to get through as to why we do not draw on things, he has to learn the natural order of things at the same time, which would be cleaning the mess.

About the broken crayons, these work wonderfully to make bigger crayons to keep pieces contained. An old muffin pan works well to make toddler sized crayons.
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#10 of 22 Old 10-22-2007, 05:59 PM
 
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Would you consider not buying new crayons for a while? You said he didn't seem upset about throwing the others away. I know that this seems the less cool/progressive option, but my thinking is that if he is not upset about the loss of crayons, why buy more crayons and continue the battle? Maybe just wait a year and buy more after he has matured some.

Just my thought.

Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

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#11 of 22 Old 10-22-2007, 06:25 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LilyGrace View Post
Why not give him a magic eraser and have him work at the same time as you? His mess, his responsibility. Not yours. Same with the wrappers.
As an activity, this is a great idea, but 2.5 is too young to understand natural consequences. IOW, definitely have him "help" when he is willing, but don't power struggle over it. He's not going to "get" the concept of a consequence at this age, it's more a question of introducing the concept. Be willing and happy to do the cleanup. After all, if we model unhappiness about cleaning up, how are our kids supposed to see it in a good light? It's a PITA, but it will pass!
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#12 of 22 Old 10-22-2007, 06:33 PM
 
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Well, DS's toys are his to decorate. :

He has a step stool which he likes to decorate with stickers, markers, crayons. He decorated the train table, some plastic outdoor toys, some wooden train tracks. He's also painted some of his trains and toys. But he has always understood to only decorate his things. We've had no problem with him decorating anything else.


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#13 of 22 Old 10-22-2007, 06:40 PM
 
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#14 of 22 Old 10-22-2007, 06:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mighty-mama View Post


Probably within the next day or two, he's decided that he will break the majority of them in half, and shred the paper off of them. So, in frustration and without his knowledge, I throw away all the broken crayons.
FWIW, when I was in grad school, (counseling psychology) one of the child counseling profs suggested to always allow kids to tear the paper off crayons and to break them in half. Her reasoning is that it eliminates the "rule" of having to have perfect crayons, and can therefore make the child freer to express themselves in a counseling session.

I've always remembered that with my kids. It doesn't matter to me if they tear the paper off crayons and break them in half - how else are you supposed to use them sideways to get the really thick lines?

As for the rest of the stuff in your post, when my kids were that age, we had only supervised crayon time, and used washable crayons (and washable markers) exclusively. Much less stressful for me knowing that the crayon will just wipe off the table (and the wall!) with a damp cloth!
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#15 of 22 Old 10-22-2007, 07:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you, great advice, and ideas too..

(I forgot to add, that he drew on the carpet too

Anyway, I really think my biggest flaw as a mom is viewing him at a different age than he is, or worse seeing him and his decisions from an adult point of view.

I do need to remind myself, that pulling paper of crayons is fun, and maybe I should be happy with his fine hand movements. I also forgot about using the little pieces of crayon, (I've read about melting them into a candy mold).. Why I didn't think of it then.. And yes, he was probably just making all those objects more prettier...

Thanks again, I'll look at him thru 2.5yr eyes, and not adults..
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#16 of 22 Old 10-22-2007, 07:07 PM
 
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WuWei-ITA. I've really had to let go of my control issues. I love nice, new crayons, clean toys and house, ect. I HATE mixing the colors on play-doh. It drives me bananas!! If you mix them, they all eventually end up brown, and what fun is that? BUT those are dd's play doh toys, and she should be able to do with them what she pleases. Same with crayons, markers, glue, ect. I draw the line at EATING them, another thing she likes to do....but aside from that, they are washable, and so long as she isn't destroying the rest of the house, coloring on her table or toys is alright. Could you buy plain wrapping paper and tape it to the wall? Like a hige piece of it? I think when dd is bored of the same old coloring projects, she's more likely to eat/break/mess up her things. When I change it up a little, it keeps her interested for a little longer. Or try paint? Not much he can do to mess paint up! HTH
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#17 of 22 Old 10-23-2007, 12:51 AM
 
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I think the easiest solution is to supervise coloring time. He's too little to control the impulse.

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#18 of 22 Old 10-23-2007, 01:29 AM
 
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Just wanted to say in response to the person who suggested having your little one help clean along side with the magic eraser. I agree that helping you clean would be a good solution, but PLEASE don't give him a magic eraser. There is tons of info out there about kids getting horrible burns from touching those!!!
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#19 of 22 Old 10-23-2007, 01:47 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WuWei View Post
Well, DS's toys are his to decorate. :

He has a step stool which he likes to decorate with stickers, markers, crayons. He decorated the train table, some plastic outdoor toys, some wooden train tracks. He's also painted some of his trains and toys. But he has always understood to only decorate his things. We've had no problem with him decorating anything else.


Pat
This makes me laugh because I feel the same way...except he decorates mine usually . The day after I got my brand new Mac computer with a very nice large screen the bottom was lined nicely with bright shiny toe truck and semi truck stickers. I like them now

So here is my solution to anyone with a kid who needs big space to doodle. Go to costco and pick up the giant roll of freezer paper. It's about 30 bucks but it will literally last an entire life time and more. I taped our entire living room wall as far as I can reach up high, and from one end to the other. We have a big huge craft bin with markers crayons, stickers, etc and they have at it. Many times I am talking to myself and find they have left and I am still coloring :.
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#20 of 22 Old 10-23-2007, 02:15 AM
 
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Havent read the other replies yet..
For me if my child is having trouble following the rules eather because of imaturity or just testingthe boundries then I make sure I can enforce them. In this case all art supplies would go into a locked container out of reach. I would also make sure to include some special time each day to do art where I can sit and observe that the items are being used appropiately. Items such as magna doodle or aqua doodle sheets color wonder books ect can also help give some "free range art" thats still under controll. He's 2.5 its okay to bring in the boundries and help him learn.

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#21 of 22 Old 10-24-2007, 08:16 AM
 
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we're pretty free-range with our art supplies and have had a limited amount of damage after i've told them that drawing is for paper. dh gets tired of picking up after them and if he finds broken crayons on the floor he will trash them, but that's one of the reasons i love crayons is that even if they break they still work. if the cap is left off the markers they dry out if the pencil breaks you have to resharpen it, but if the crayon breaks no problem now you have two! i would never throw away crayons that had the paper peeled off or we'd never have crayons. do you have a designated art area? we have a painted little kid sized table that is easy to wipe off and if the girls are doing something messy (playdough, painting) i direct them to "keep it on the little table so it doesn't get messy everywhere else" and that works.

washable crayons are also great if he's not still mouthing things cause they will "melt" in your mouth (blech!).

chalk is also great indoors and out. i let my girls draw all over the deck and outside of the house and it washes away in the next rain. they can draw on dark construction paper, too and it wipes off furniture easily.

hth

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#22 of 22 Old 10-27-2007, 01:29 AM
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i went through this my ds is almost 3 he sis it on EVERYTHING we had a setup at the table with crayons and papaer. eventully he started losing them for a day then 3 days now they are gone we bought a magna doodle. BEST THING we did. he gets crayons once a day at the table when mommy has time to sit and watch him with them i swear try the darn magna doodle
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