Toddlers love the sounds of a pounding crayon and the magic of their markings on an unsuspecting wall. They experience joy from the feel of the motion and drawing a person in motion in stages for children appearance of the line. At this age, discovery is their job. Some children are scolded for scribbling on the walls.
Some children are even prohibited from using markers and crayons. If they are not allowed to scribble, their creative expressiveness may lack an important outlet. Children do need to care for their environments by learning to be careful about where they make marks. When we childproof everything, we also eliminate chances for children to make bad choices from which to learn. When there is no chance of a small mistake, there is little chance to learn. Sooner or later, every person makes mistakes.
Thoughtless and impulsive behavior is natural for a young child. Wise parents realize this and look for positive ways to motivate responsible and more “grown up” types of behavior. A wise parent is clear and consistent about caring for the child first and caring for property second. If a child inappropriately scribbles on the walls, we can get angry and punitive. Or, we can express profound sadness and disappointment. While these are both understood by the child to be negative responses to a negative act, the sad response will be much more nurturing than the angry response. In addition to being clear about how sad it makes us, if a child scribbles on the wall or makes some other mistake, a wise, empathic, and creative parent immediately provides an alternative positive and redemptive face saving behavior.