Do You Throw Away Your Kids' Artwork?

Filed under: Opinions

From the Singer Family Museum of Fine ArtsI've been amazed at how many experiences seem to be shared amongst my fellow parents. I don't just mean that all babies have stinky poop. I mean things like how much artwork your children bring home, and what exactly we are supposed to do with it.

Bonnie Rochman recently wrote about this over at Babble. Rochman is a parent who has come to terms with the fact that saving all of the doodles, scribbles and macaroni montages is unrealistic and probably unnecessary. No matter how sentimental you are, unless you live in a large house and enjoy playing docent to your little darling's decoupage, at some point there's just too much stuff to keep it all.

Here is how Rochman deals with her own pint-sized Picasso:

"Mama, you threw away my picture of a shark eating a diver in a chain-metal suit!"

Me, incredulous: "I did? I don't know how that ended up in there. Thank you so much for rescuing it."It's a bit of a slippery slope, this saving or tossing of the art projects. You want to encourage them, help them feel like what they've created has value. On the other hand, how many scraps of construction paper adorned with a single crayon marking and the occasional food stain does one parent really need?

At the Singer household, I've recently starting tossing a lot of the children's artwork. At first I felt guilty but not anymore. We live in an apartment, and like most kids under 10, our children are quite prolific. Some things are off limits, like the giant dinosaur made from milk cartons and plastic cups, or the wood sculpture for which the label "abstract" is insufficient. But the doodles? The Hamantash pictured above? Circular file. The first time is tough; after that it gets easier. At least the guilty feelings go away. Sort of.

Ready to part with some pint-sized art? Here's a tip: Do your cleaning at night after they've gone to bed. That way you can avoid confrontations like Rochman's. Frankly, I don't think kids remember 75% of what they make. Even if you get rid of half of their output, you'll be better off.

What about you? Does your house look like a cross between Romper Room and The Louvre? Or do you toss the scribbles on sight?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.