One of the most frequent questions I get asked about painting is, ‘is my little one too young?’ I’ve been asked this by parents of newborns, as well as parents of toddlers. So I thought I’d write up a short blog to answer it!
I’ve had adorable babies just a couple of weeks old come in for paint mornings. I was painting my own daughter’s hand at a week old! It is all about expectation and what you would like to take away from the activity.
The painting experience for tiny babies is one that is perhaps a bit more parent-centric. Group sessions lean more towards exhausted parents having a relaxing chat with other exhausted parents. [As a perpetually exhausted parent, I can 100% attest to that. If there’s one thing I feel like I missed out on having a pandemic baby, it was the ability to go out, play with other babies and vent with other bedraggled parents…] Regardless of whether you are in a big group, or it’s just you and your baby at home, it’s such a lovely way to capture just how little they are, get creative yourself, and just escape for that brief moment. Most art work made at this age is based on simple hand and footprint art that you can look back on later. And when you do, you won’t quite believe they were ever that small.
As for toddlers, toddlers are fantastic and creative machines. The vast majority will just muck straight in, no questions asked. Art isn’t just about creating something, it’s about really experiencing it. If that experience means stamping in the paint – or trying to eat it – so be it. Just make sure the paint you use is water-based and non-toxic, as these are the safest for babies (I’ll do a blog later on what kinds of paint I use). Nothing makes me happier than seeing a toddler having a ball and making a complete mess: they are so proud of the work they have done. For them it is a huge accomplishment, and we need to recognise that. They have created something themselves and expressing independence we really should value.
So, to answer the question, your baby is never too small! Make the most out of the experience and enjoy it for what it is: be in the moment and have some fun. Disregard any expectations of perfection. After all, some of the best moments in our lives are the imperfect ones.