Sunday, January 22, 2012

Helping A Reluctant Child Get Their Face Painted

Has this ever happened to you? You’re at a festival and your child says she wants her face painted. You wait in line for an hour. Then when it’s her turn, she suddenly gets shy and refuses to get in the painter’s chair.

This is actually quite common, but what is a parent to do? Because the painter has probably encountered this situation before they can usually coax your child into getting something painted, such as a design on her arm instead of her face. If that doesn’t work, perhaps you could get something small painted on you! You did wait in line patiently all that time, didn’t you?

The worse thing to do is to get mad and force your child to get painted, especially if they are crying and flailing about. Most face painters won’t paint a child in that instance. It’s not safe and there’s no need to traumatize the child any more than they already are. It’s also not good for business as it might frighten away other customers! 

Has this happened to you?  What did you do?  Leave me a comment.  I'd love to hear from you!

Later, when everyone is relaxed, you could ask your child what made her change her mind? Reassure her that it is okay to not want to get painted. Children need to feel empowered about their bodies.  The face is a very close personal space. From farther away your child felt comfortable with that concept but it probably overwhelmed her when it was her turn.

Other ideas to get her used to the idea:
--Have her watch friends get painted at birthday parties and discuss the pretty designs and how nicely they sat to be painted. She can then ask her friends how it felt.

--Hire a face painter to come to your home. In her own territory she may feel more comfortable. Again, she could watch everyone else get painted before taking her turn.

When I encounter this situation I don’t make the child get in my chair. I have them stand next to me and I just chat with them. I have them put their arm on the chair or table and I tickle them with a dry brush. I make sure I tell them they don’t have to get painted if they don’t want to. But once I put my paints away they can’t change their mind. This usually works.

If the child does decide to be painted I distract them by more chatting and before they know it, I’m done. I tell them they did such a great job. Everybody’s happy. Mission accomplished.

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