Deletion or Transformation? Problem-Solving by a Five-Year-Old

Every morning, my daughter Mia draws in my office before school.  This has been our routine for three years, and this year, our routine has been disrupted slightly by my youngest, a whirlwind of a person, who began school and therefore joined our morning routine.

Where Madison is easygoing, Mia is a perfectionist, and so often, when frustrated, Mia will crumple her paper and quit her drawing.  As a mother and an educator, this is not okay, and so I have been working with her on building resilience and dealing with frustration appropriately.  Thus, I am delighted by the following anecdote.

Mia was drawing a family portrait.  Madison was chatting away and I was working, not paying much attention to their conversation.  Once Mia had finished her drawing, she came to show it to me, proudly stating, “Look Mama, I drew a picture of us, but Madison was mean to me, so I turned her into an apple.”

What!?!

IMG_0775It turns out, Madison had been unkind while Mia was drawing.  A couple of months ago, true to her perfectionist nature, Mia would have gotten visibly upset, perhaps quitting the drawing or crumpling the paper.  However, this week, she simply carried on drawing, changing her plan and working at it calmly.

Despite the fact that she had no issue calmly erasing Madison from the scene and turning her into an apple, I am thrilled at her progress.  This apple represents resilience, critical thinking and problem-solving.  That’s one great apple!

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