How to interpret children's drawings? 10 useful tips to understand

Before you even know how to talk, walk, or ask anything, your child draws. Sometimes he spends a lot of time on a drawing before coming to show you his work. Tender, right? Yes, but that's not all. His drawing expresses what he feels, his expectations, pleasures, fears. In short, it is a real gold mine of information to understand your child! In order not to be mistaken, here are the very useful tips of the psychologist on how to interpret children's drawings.

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10 tricks to understand your children's drawings

The drawings of your children allow you to know and understand them better. Here are 10 practical tips that will allow you to look at your baby's works with different eyes and give them all the attention they deserve.

1) Always return the drawing to its context: Has your child seen a cartoon that scared him? Have you heard anything that could explain the theme of the drawing?

2) Remember that the child always projects himself in the drawing. Look for the character or object that represents him.

3) Keep in mind that a drawing is a "snapshot, the expression of a moment, and has no permanent value. It can simply express a passing bad mood.

4) Look at the drawing as a whole: if it is dynamic, colorful, rich in contrasts, explosive, sweet, sensitive, full of details. Let yourself be guided by the general impression it communicates to you: it will show you the overall meaning of the design.

5) Pay attention to the colors: a colored drawing is always a good sign, but the presence of red and black is not necessarily disturbing: black is always present in children's drawings and red is their favorite color.

6) Evaluate the space occupied by the drawing: large, small, centered or not. All this gives you an idea of ​​the place the child feels he occupies in his life.

7) Animals are important: they are the means found by the child to represent himself (or his family) and express some hidden feelings (aggression or need for tenderness).

8) Characters are essential: look at their respective dimensions and where they are in the drawing (top, bottom, close to each other, etc.).

9) Never make negative comments: the drawing is the child himself, e retains his drawings: for him this is very important and, for you, it is the way to observe his evolution, to compare the drawings with the different moments of his life.

10) Finally, know that it is possible to suspect a real disorder in the child when obsessively repeats a type of drawing, stereotyped in expression (always the same monsters) or in his handwriting (drawings always enclosed by a frame or always the same characters) and without evolution. In this case, it is advisable to consult a specialist.

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The symbology of the drawings

The House
A fundamental and very present theme, the house represents both the world of the child and his "I".
The elements that decorate the house are also important: doors, windows, fireplaces, flowers, path ... A well centered house, with open windows, with several doors denotes a happy child, with an open and sunny character.
On the contrary, a small house, in a corner of the sheet, with small windows, indicates an affective problem, which changes according to age: between 6 and 8 years, one can see in this a strong attachment to the mother, and the effort to turn to the outside (friends, school). After 8 years, it is a feeling of isolation, of inferiority. During puberty this type of home acquires another meaning: modesty, sensitivity and difficulty in opening up to others

In all cases, an "absence of path or an isolation of the house, is a symbol of a feeling of failure in the child.
Once again, these drawings must be taken in their context and compared with those made previously (to see the evolution).

The castle
It is a variant of the house, and it is an ideal refuge, which protects. According to Françoise Dolto, the stronghold is a defensive representation of the body.

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The men
It is "obviously the representation of the child himself and of the people around him. The little man follows a" well-known evolution.
Towards the age of 3, we observe the little man-tadpole, a round with four sticks sticking out, arms and legs.
Towards the age of 5-6, the bust appears, represented by a second tondo.
At 6, the little man is complete and articulate.
At the age of 7-9, visual realism appears, the representation of details (hair, eyes, mouth, teeth, fingers, etc.) and the profile.

The animals
Ferocious animals can represent a father who is feared. The place that the child occupies with respect to the father is essential.Birds and fish translate spirituality and well-being, especially when colored. Cats and dogs can mean a desire to be petted, cuddled, loved or a feeling of suffocating attachment.

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The tree
It is a symbol of man and evolves with him. The baby tree will change in appearance as the baby grows.

The first trees are tadpoles, like the little men; later, it takes root.
By the age of 8-10, the tree is a ball with rounded foliage.
After 10 years, the branches stand out, as well as the leaves (and we see the fruits appear).

It is essential to observe where the tree is located on the sheet. A graphologist, Max Pulver, indicated a basic scheme: the upper part of the sheet represents the intellect, the spirituality, the lower part the instincts, the unconscious, the left. the past, the introversion, the attachment to the mother, the right the extroversion, the future, the attachment to the father.
The trunk of the tree represents the stable self of the child, the branches the evolution of the child in the surrounding environment.

The imperfections of the trunk or branches represent a past trauma, as recent as it is located high on the trunk.

The planets, the cosmos
The sun is the father. Depending on its place and color in the drawing, it indicates a good father / son relationship or, conversely, difficulties.
The moon, the night, represent shadow, sleep, dreams, but they can also suggest anguish or fear.
The earth is the symbol of the mother, of affection, of roots, of origins.
The sky symbolizes desires and hopes, dreams of success and escape.
Water represents femininity, everything that has to do with birth. We find a lot of water, lakes and rivers, in the drawings of children wetting the bed.

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Colors
A stable, well-balanced child typically uses 4-6 colors. A child with difficulties tends to use only 1, 2 or 3 colors.

  • warm colors express a good emotional balance, dark colors a tendency to sadness. But, of course, all this information must be relativized according to the context of the design.
  • red vit is used by all children. After 6 years, if present in large quantities, it can indicate a tendency to aggression
  • the blue, the green they are the colors of self-control, social relationships and a good adaptation to the context.
  • the yellow it is often associated with red. It indicates aggression after the age of 6, but also happiness and importance of adults in the life of the child
  • the black it is used very often by children. If omnipresent after age 6, it suggests distress.

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