Putting a Stop to Kids Arguments While Crafting
Nothing like getting out the craft supplies, actually managing to get everyone to the table and *finally* starting a craft project, only to to wind up with arguing kids. Not. Fun. Here’s how Cerys, a mom to two young kids and author of the kids crafting and activity blog Rainy Day Mum, helps prevent arguments during a craft. ~Alissa
Kids. Craft. Arguments. ::sigh::
Picture the scene:
It’s art and craft time in our house – a 2 year old and a 3 year old ready to go and we sit down at the table and then everything erupts as the two argue and squabble over the dot markers, the crayons that I put out and even the paper.
Now I’m normally a fairly easy going crafter with my kids but this was one thing that pushed me over the edge and I turned into Shouty Mom – you know, the one that swears that they will never craft again with the two at the same time?
However, I’ve changed. I sat down after a particularly bad session and worked out how I could get crafting with two or more (we have crafty playdates) to work without the squabbles and arguments – or at least to greatly reduce them and believe me it is possible.
Peaceful crafting with more than one kid…
Two of everything
My top tip, and this is the only thing I do this for, is that we have at least double of everything – we have two sets of paint brushes, two sets of pens, crayons, pencils and paints.
We don’t do this for toys or equipment – normally the children need to learn how to share and work together, but my two sets of crafting equipment is due to the way that the two use them differently.
Different Ages, Different Personalities, Different Needs
J, my 3 year old, is a careful crafter. He has gone past the splat-the-paint-on and use-the-paint-brush-like-a-fly-swat (yes we went through a phase like that…) His pens aren’t allowed to mix and get dirty with other colours on the nibs and he loves to sharpen the pencils so he has a nice set to use.
T, the 2 year old, is the other end of the spectrum.
Her favourite colour to paint with at the moment is a purpley brown that comes from blending all of the available paints together. This will not do AT ALL for mister Careful Crafter.
Now, I don’t always go to extremes to give them their own entire sets of art supplies – but for the most part, there is no point having them share equipment.
You can see how annoyed the 3 year would get with the way that the 2 year old paints (mind you so would I, and I have to sit on my hands as her art work turns out purpley brown yet again).
Try working on something BIGGER
We also often enjoy crafting together on bigger pieces like the Double Decker bus. It was big enough to sit on and gave plenty of space for both children to express themselves.
Sometimes you might limit choices
In the case of the Double Decker Bus, for instance, we had separate paint dishes more for ease of reaching the paint than to stop arguments, because I only provided 1 colour which reduced the arguments over mixed up paints.
This could just mean putting out a few less supplies – especially for younger children, sometimes having less to choose from can mean less stress and thus less likelihood of erupting into argument.
Crafting with more than one child without tears is possible – just needs a little forward thinking and a bit more preparation. Providing enough space and a separate set of equipment are the keys for us at this moment in time. Do you have any tips to add?
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Thanks for the tips. Less options and each their own stuff is a great thing to remember.
When my daughter was a bit younger, I sat her and her friend both in seperate high chairs to paint and get messy. That way they didn’t touch each other and I could clean one up without the second one running around all messy (because she was strapped into her high chair)! It worked out well. And the high chairs with trays are easy enough to clean.
Haha great post!
your 3-yr-old actually holds the brush like that?? what a master!
your 2-yo is my 3-yo and your 3-yo is my 4-yo!
Those are great tips for crafting with more than one child. It always seems that there will be a neat child and one that doesn’t care.
I love to do arts and crafts but have really cut down significantly now that I have a 5 year old and a 2 year old. It would take me forever to get everything set up as I answer a gazillion questions and stop little grabby hands from taking everything I touch. Then we finally sit down to start and they are good for about 2 minutes until the arguing and yelling starts. My 2 year old will start to grab for his brother’s things even though he has the exact same things. Then he’ll want to sit right next to his brother and that’s where the shoving and pushing will start. Then it’s time to end our arts and crafts time 🙁 So stressful and I end up yelling like a mad woman to get them to settle down.
Reading your comment makes me think: OMG, this is us (and normally I wouldn’t use the omg; I try to be reserved;)! There is a 5-year old girl, and a 1-year old boy in our house (sometimes I feel like they secretely tripple though). I love painting, and drawing, and cutting, and using unusual materials as well, like rose petals, or any leftovers from birthday party decorations. Unfortunately at the moment we do this with the older one when the little one is asleep. Which is not as much as we used to.
However we get the little one involved in earlier phases of crafting. And that helps bonding, without making the older one feel forgot, or abandoned. Like the other day, we went to a park, and the little one carefully picked the rose petals, and gave them to us. It was real fun to him, running around and looking for possible treasures to bring and make his mum, and sister, smile. And yes, that also means, my current running and chasing abilities are at its peak, but it is worth it! 😉
Planning is key, however spontaneous actions seem to work as well. Just always have a spare bag with you; you never know what a short walk may bring…
Hope that helps.
Our boys are ok with crafting alongside as long as no glitter is involved. I don’t know why, but as soon as someone has the idea to put the glitter on the table the fights and frustration starts….
Haha…glitter tends to make ME a bit stressed out, so I can sympathize.
This is a great post, I do the same with playdough too
I love the 2 photos of their different painting palettes. My 2 year old turns everything brown too. 🙂
Oh, I have been there! 2 and 3 probably were the hardest ages when crafting together…. My 2 year old had to have everything a certain way and big sis likes to mix it all up. Having 2 of everything is a must!
My kids are 8, 6, 5, 3, 2, and an upcoming 1-year-old who isn’t involved the crafting experience yet. Nobody likes to be left out of any sort of painting activity, so we always paint together, BUT I cannot bear the stress!!! I always end up yelling and promising NEVER to do painting with them EVER again! 😉 I think I need to separate ages, that will give us more space at the table if we have two sessions, maybe… We do have separate supplies to some degree, but your post encourages me to make SURE we stick to that for less insanity. Great tips!
Leslie @Cute and Peculiar
Great, great, great post. My sons are 2.5 and 1 .5 and sound very similar with their crafts than yours. 2 year old is all precision while 1 year old…. we are still working on the fact that we don’t eat our supplies. I definitely have to have a calm state of mind before starting a craft. These are all helpful hints. Pinning.
Cerys @ Rainy Day Mum
Leslie we are still occasionally in the eat the craft materials phase – paints now don’t taste as nice but some things are lisious according to the 2 year old.