Coloring Inside The Lines

This morning I was just about to start mopping, for obvious reasons, when I found a square out of place:


This was from my very artistic 4 year old.  She has been hiding crayons in her pockets forever so she could color her crib (when she was in a crib), and the walls surrounding her crib, in peace.  I don’t want to overreact and say her need to color on the house is an epidemic, but we’ll just say it’s a bit of a habit.  One that I thought we had grown out of, since there hasn’t been a crayon outbreak lately.

But armed with new crayons, to her, this particular square of kitchen needed to be filled.  Apparently.

Now, I’ve already talked with her about drawing on the house (again), and I imagine that since we just got fresh crayons for the school room, this won’t be the last time I see something on the house colored.  And today won’t be the last time I talk to her about not drawing on the house.

But here’s the thing: it’s really not that big of a deal.

I’m not too worried about it because I can wash this off.  I was going to mop anyway, and it will come off.  It’s just crayon, and it’s drawn on tile.  Even permanent marker isn’t permanent (nail polish is a little tougher).

But the heart of my daughter is.  And I take that into grave consideration when I scale the discipline with my kids.

There are some things that are inexcusable: lying, betrayal, violence, rage…things of destructive natures.

But drawing on tile is not destructive…it is an instructive moment.  I can teach her why we don’t draw on the house in this moment.  She can get a sponge and help me clean the crayon, so she sees how hard it is to get off.  We can discuss this together, and I can make this moment a learning moment for her.

Honestly, when I saw this, the first thing I thought was, “If you teach your kids to color inside the lines, sometimes we have to also show them where the lines are.”  Because, as you can see, she did color inside the lines very well.

I just need to show her that we color inside the lines on paper.


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