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Coloring outside the lines

This is my 5th child and I have never had this problem and I don't know what to do! She will be 3 in July and used to LOVE to color, and I love to color with her. Recently, she has decided that she wants me to color, but she says she "can't do it" I think she has realized that she can't color in the lines yet so she doesn't want to try. I keep encouraging her, but she gets really upset. I don't want to force her because I don't want her to dread coloring, but if she doesn't practice she won't get better.
How do I help her?


Asked by missanc at 6:58 PM on Apr. 10, 2013 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 43 (163,403 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (8)
  • Do something else for a while.

    The "I can't do it" phrase is a common occurance with 3 year olds. It really means "I can't do this like you are doing it correctly, I don't want to try anymore"

    Answer by staciandababy at 9:03 PM on Apr. 10, 2013

  • Do something different, like fingerpainting. Something messy and fun, but without lines to color within. Water colors are also fun and easy to clean up.

    Answer by QuinnMae at 7:18 PM on Apr. 10, 2013

  • It's not really true that if she doesn't practice coloring she won't get better. When her development reaches the level where her small muscle control gets good, the coloring will improve, too, regardless of whether or not she's been practicing.

    Answer by SWasson at 7:18 PM on Apr. 10, 2013

  • Stop with the coloring books. Just use blank paper.

    Answer by mompam at 7:33 PM on Apr. 10, 2013

  • Art is an expression and is very personal. Maybe she thinks it looks better her way. Just encourage her to do what she wants and don't get so caught up in the "right way"

    Answer by ggsmom333 at 7:05 PM on Apr. 10, 2013

  • I had always read to not give children pages that had lines until after 5 because it causes them to think they are doing a bad job when they do not stay in the lines. Try giving her a blank sheet of paper and see how she does.

    Answer by cassie_kellison at 7:32 PM on Apr. 10, 2013

  • What Mom Pam said, ask her to DRAW, make it her own, I have a feeling she might be the most artisitic of all of your kids!

    Answer by jerseydiva at 8:09 PM on Apr. 10, 2013

  • Start hanging her artwork up on the fridge and praise it. Ask her to help you get started on the coloring, then just keep encouraging and saying "Beautiful!" every few seconds. Then, say, "You're doing such a great job, why don't you show mommy how to finish it?" I think that compared to you, she feels bad. Stop coloring with her. This is like how pageant moms compete against their own daughters and take all the fun out of an activity. Let her color and you just praise her. She doesn't need to be taught to color inside the lines. Kids will figure it out on their own as they increase their motor skills.

    Answer by hellokittykat at 7:22 PM on Apr. 10, 2013