how to patiently teach my 3 yr old son how to color

Philippines
June 20, 2009 5:03am CST
hello to all my fellow moms!i really need your help. My 3yr old son started schooling early this month and i noticed that everytime his teachers would ask him to take out his crayons to color he barely participates. One time i overheard his teacher say that the rest of his classmates are all coloring except for him. I know that he's really new to this and i dont want to expect too much from him. But everytime i try and get him into coloring i hear him say that he doesn't want to. At times id get to talk him into it but he won't do it alone, he always wants me to hold his hand while coloring and if i stop doing so, he also stops. Im already getting kind of frustrated, i know that my patience is very short when it comes to this and i want to know the proper way in teaching him without showing him my frustrations...please help
3 people like this
20 responses
@mommaj (22463)
• United States
21 Jun 09
First, I think I would ask why he doesn't want to color. Yes, he's three but he has a reason that makes him not want to and he may be able to articulate it. Secondly, try backing off. If he doesn't want to don't force him. Coloring is supposed to be fun and if everytime he opens a coloring book he has a memory of someone forcing a crayon in his hand and "MAKING" him color, he is going to hate it. I would set the stuff out and if he wants to he will. Maybe just put plain pen and paper out for him to draw. Anything is a start. You should take time out and color even if he doesn't. I would also get big crayons or even those crayon triangles. Something FUN. He might not feel comfortable holding a thin crayon, especially at three years old. Try fat markers. Take him to the store and let him pick them out. Let him pick out a coloring book. As far as the teachers where the heck are you taking him!!! They shouldn't be discussing that in front of the children. If you can hear them chances are good he heard them too. He wants you to help him color because either he heard them and is now afraid of doing something wrong and is self conscious OR holding the crayon isn't comfortable to him. I really think he wants your reassurance so you may want a different school. Color with him first and see if he is hiding in his shell for protection.
1 person likes this
@mommaj (22463)
• United States
21 Jun 09
PS. At three years old the teachers shouldn't be comparing kids nor pushing them to learn even with coloring. You need to pop into that school and compare it with others. In all the daycares I have been in, the learning was fun and no one was pushed nor compared at three years old. You never compare kids. I can't express that enough. Until Kindergarten, the schools are set up to be fun by STATES regulations.
@PeacefulWmn9 (10425)
• United States
20 Jun 09
Big plain paper will allow him to doodle and experiment. Kids love doing what their parents are doing, so if you just begin coloring without trying to "get" him to color, he may just join in all on his own. The "fat" crayons are also easier for tiny hands to grip and use. Or sidewalk chalk might be another good way for him to learn to see the fun of coloring. Best wishes, Karen
• Philippines
20 Jun 09
im more re-assured now...yes i could be an example to him, that big paper will end up being a paper plane though ;-) i will try the chalk, that's one thing we havent done yet.thanks karen
• United States
21 Jun 09
You're welcome. I think you and your son will have fun with this new venture.
• United States
24 Jun 09
i agree there may be reasons why he is not interested such as color blindness and such but the same might be said it may just be one of those things he does not like or care to do ,maybe he feels pressure to do it and sometimes when kids feel out of control they will take small things some things no one would ever think of to take control of you say he started a new school right this may be one thing he could feel in control of more so if he does not like to do so or has some other issue about it my advice the one thing i have done with my kids and i am not saying the same will work although for me it has i let the kids be kids with in reason kids will do things when it is their time and sometimes fighting the war one loses the battle
• Philippines
26 Jun 09
thank you! i will try that one ...now it made me think back in the days when i was his age, i dont recall my parents forcing me to color too hmmmnn...
• United States
21 Jun 09
when my oldest daughter was nearlt three, her pediatrician thought she should be tested on her development because she was only saying about five words. They did every test imaginable, hearing, eye test, speech testing to see if her mouth worked properly, and IQ testing and fine motor skills and everything. Finally they came to the conclusion that she was on a fiver year olds level in everything and that she just didnt WANT to talk. Maybe your little guy just doesn't want to color simply because his brain is thinking about much bigger things than coloring on a page. If He's the only one in the class then that doesn't mean there's something wrong with that. Maybe he see's the class as a whole and feels he doesn't have to be involved with what everyone else is doing. And kids are smart, if you're holding his hand while they color, then he's not coloring anymore anyway. he got you to do it so his mind can once again wonder. He might even be trying to figure out why the crayons are different colors! If it's a behavioral issue and the teacher wants him to sit still while they color then it isn't about his ability to color, it's about his ability to behave and follow directions. She shouldn't make it a coloring issue but if the requirement is to show self control and how to behave then she should give him an alternative to coloring and see if he is able to sit still and follow direction. You said he is the most talkative in the class. Sounds like he stands apart from those other students and is probably just BORED and needing to be in a more advanced class or needs his brain stimulated in a more complicated way than coloring. You as a mother worries because you want reassurance that your little ones is like all the other little girls and boys, but he's only three. One day he might be spray painting graffiti on the walls and you'll remember this day and think, oh my goodness, why did I ever teach him to color. LOL
• Philippines
22 Jun 09
wow, you definitely were able to shed some light on me there.haha maybe he really is that smart. thanks for pointing out a lot of factors.my son and i have the whole schoolyear to observe and have fun, thank you so much!
• Malaysia
20 Jun 09
Hello there, my name is Michael and I am not a mother for sure but I am an Early chilhood Educator to be. Well,children are very unique and they are like a white slate when they are young.The experience gained by their parents and people around them will help them to develop well. Coloring comes under creative and aesthetic development for them. As to develop well in this area, there are a few things that can encourage them. Children gains more ideas and theme to color when they have a good memory and experience, the ability to use many colors depends on the child. If he is exposed to many themes of life he will think more critical and creatively. always encourage him to color by himself and tells him that it is okay to make mistake and this will give them the self esteem needed to do things by themselves.
• Philippines
20 Jun 09
now that you mentioned that, i think i will put more effort in exposing him to outside life. i think creativity does come out when kids have good experiences and when they've mustered enough confidence and security hence they'll be more assured of themselves.thank you mike that was very helfpful
@suzzy3 (8418)
20 Jun 09
May be he does not enjoy colouring not every child does.May be you could buy him some different type of crayons if he has a favourite cartoon characters.Get him some colouring books of animals let him do a pink and green lion it does not matter,If you put pressure on him he will never want to learn how to do it.Lots of children don't like colouring my son was one of them even when he was five he never coloured within the lines ,he just scribbled it all over the page and said there Its done.My grandson is the same he cannot stand sitting there he finds it boring he is four and will start school in september,but they were so bright in so many other ways,it seems like boys have to have something to get you worried,My son is now taking sixteen gcse one in art.Not liking colouring is something the teacher needs to come to terms with tell her you are not bothered.It is not the end of the world.
• Philippines
20 Jun 09
thank you suzzy.i know my son will excel in other fields, and i'll give him more time.And i will never pressure him or show him that im frustrated..yes it does makes sense, it's something that i should not be bothered at all.
@rickiely (257)
• Australia
20 Jun 09
I can't say there is a 'PROPER' way to teach a child to colour, infact, if the child does not want to colour, you shouldn't force him. As i child i always i was never eager to learn my colours and grew up mixing up colours which was pretty embarassing though i learnt them, either at a late age or an early age, it does not matter.
• Philippines
20 Jun 09
i agree with you rick, im aware now that kids really do have different interests at certain stages. and my son is more inclined in playing with his toy cars, planes and robots for now. i know he's smart!he's the most talkative in his class and he amuses his teachers most of the time... thanks
@owlwings (36912)
• Cambridge, England
20 Jun 09
It's a long shot, perhaps, but maybe he doesn't see colours as others do. Have you had him tested for colour-blindness? It might be rather uninteresting to him if he sees both red and green (or blue and green or whatever) as a sort of dirty shade of brown (or something like that). My son and my brother-in-law are both colour-blind (though not severely) and were puzzled that what seemed to them the same rather indeterminate colours were given different names. It is difficult to get a three year old to express feelings that they don't understand, I know, but it sounds as if he is unsure of what colouring actually achieves or as if he somehow has no confidence in using crayons because of (perhaps) a small, forgotten incident involving crayons.
• Philippines
20 Jun 09
thank you, and since you mentioned about colour blindness.it made me less worried, im confident that he's not because he can pretty much name colors already. It just made me think that my situation is normal and most parents and toddlers go through it.
@Wizzywig (7860)
20 Jun 09
Not all children enjoy colouring and, since its a creative thing, it doesn't seem right to force it. I'd be inclined to just get out some crayons and a drawing pad and do it myself & maybe he will want to join in and help. You could try other 'mark making' activities like drawing with his fingers in a sandbox or roll out some playdough and make marks with an old ballpen or pencil. Try using lots of different colours/textures of paper. My sons used to like 'painting' with plain water on the garden slabs or using chalk. If he's not interested in any of these things, I'd just leave him to do activities that he does enjoy as it will just cause stress and anxiety for both of you. I dont think its something you should be too worried about as there are other ways of developing fine motor skills and expressing creativity.
• Philippines
20 Jun 09
thank you wizz, you have so many creative ideas. i will surely try those.
@Maggiepie (7821)
• United States
22 Jun 09
[b]Maybe it just isn't his thing. Or...perhaps...has he been tested for colorblindness? Maggiepie[/b]
@mjhicks (319)
• United States
22 Jun 09
I would not push him. He will learn to use crayons soon enough. I wish my own two hadn't learned so early. My daughter was in pre school and learning how to write her name and she taught her 2 year old brother how to write his name.... Soon everything in the house was "decorated" with "Rosie" or "Brian" written in crayon, pencil, marker... you name it. They labeled their book, toys, beds, clothes, walls.... He may not have an artistic or creative flair at this point. You will probably find later on that he excels in some other area. Try combining the crayon drawing with something else he likes or have him "help" you make signs or labels for something or if there is a birthday or other special event coming up have him help make a card. And of course make a happy fuss over his drawings and give them the prominate display they deserve.
@meandmy3 (2229)
• United States
21 Jun 09
Dont force him, sit down with him and color, pick up a crayon and color your own page. It may help if you get the griangle shaped crayons, they are better for small hands, they do not roll and are easier to grip. you could also start with finger pants, anything that is showing him that he is accomplishing something. He is still very young, and he may be showing signs of fine motor skills. Try putting dry noodles or peas on a bowl and have him move them one at a time into a second bowl.
@geniustiger (1699)
• Philippines
21 Jun 09
You have to get his interest . Try to check what it is and have them say what cartoon movies he likes then you buy coloring book for that and let him color with rewards. I'm sure he will do it because you tell you will treat him in a restaurant or playground.Attracts his attention and every time he colors , youshould praise and compliment him with "Very Good" even tho it is not until he likes it to do so.
@trixyteddy (1072)
• India
21 Jun 09
All kids are different. Just give him some water colours and let him free in the garden. Let him just throw different colors onto old newspapers. Then see what happens. Take it from there.
@daryljane (3439)
• Philippines
21 Jun 09
Theres actually no rule on how to teach a 3 year old on HOW TO' on things like that. And most importantly, we need to be patient about it. I also encounter the same problem with my son, so one day we went to the bookstore and bought his favorite super hero coloring book..when we arrived home, we colored the book together and just have fun about it. And while playing, you also teach him some new stuff about it. That way, when he go to school the next day, he will think you guys are still playing and he will start to participate. That worked for me. Hope it will to you too. Goodluck!
@protel87 (33)
• China
21 Jun 09
I do not think it a simlpe matter ,especally a mother ,but I have some way to let his interest in color,and then every day so that he can touch things in different colors,remember to give him a lot of stimulation, such he will adapt ,Finally ,a gradual reduction!specific needs based on the specific circumstances of the operation!
@razcal2267 (15577)
• United States
21 Jun 09
Have you asked him why he doesn't like to color? I know some kids that do not like to color because they do not like the feel of the crayons while with some others coloring just isn't there cup of tea. Until you find out the why you really wont know how to help. Good Luck!
@sublime03 (1580)
• Philippines
21 Jun 09
It is absolutely the hardest job to teach 3 year olds to do something they do not want to do. There are times that he would not write his name down because he would rather play something else. What I usually do is I find drawing books that he is interested on such as his favorite cartoon character and maybe have him do other arts and coloring materials. When my son was younger I loved coloring with him and even if it wasn't complete or anything for as long as he is enjoying what he is doing. Patience is what we all need and it is just a matter of putting into our minds that the children are learning from us and we should try our best to show them the positive side of ours at all times.
@aa5215 (9)
• China
21 Jun 09
Hello,my son is 2 years old now ,I have same problem on him and i am a kind os short patiently too.But Ithink that the all most probles are from us .We have the different way of theinking and hardly to thinking in our children`s way.That is the piont.So I want say that you and I should take more time and more patiently on him.
@aa5215 (9)
• China
21 Jun 09
Hello,my son is 2 years old now.I have same problems on him and I am a kind of short patiently too.But I think that all most problem is us.We have the different way of thinking and hardly to thinking in our children`s way.That is the piont.So I want suggest you and ME that take more and more time and care.