Biggest fear that prevent a parents to start this type of art with the baby is the first question that comes to mind: “How on earth will I manage to clean my baby?” Throughts that are going through everyone’s mind (and believe me I faced these fears too) typically are: “Acrylics won’t come off easily.” “I am a neat freak.” “If it gets onto my chair/ couch/ phone/ dress – I am going to get really upset.” “My baby will hate cleaning up and will give me a hard time.” “The whole mess will be totally unmanageable”. Let’s look at all these points through the eyes of my own experience over the last 2 years.
“Acrylics won’t come off the body and hair easily.” Acrylics are like a strong glue and will dry to a permanent finish on most household items, paper, canvas and clothes. However human body and hair have natural layer of oil that resists acrylics. When you put your baby in the bath and gently rub her skin with a soft sponge, soap and warm water – acrylic will simply slide off. The dragon is not as big as it looks.
“I am a neat freak.” Believe it or not – me too! But your personal fears/ preferences and upbringing should not stay in the way of what is the best for your child. This activity will bring enormous benefits to your baby’s brain, creativity, intellect and emotional well-being. It’s soothing and therapeutic as well. Try it yourself, you might just become a better person. lol. Not to mention “the best fun ever and mom is my hero”.
“If it gets onto my chair/ couch/ phone/ dress – I am going to get really upset.” You will. It got onto my mega-expensive leather boots. Forever. Because I forgot to put on my “painting shoes.” So make a note to not forget. Plan your outfit and your painting space in a way that you have no stress and reservations during and after the process. You child will pick-up on your frustration and will not have as great a session as it could have been. Set up and prepare physically and emotionally for mega-mess. Have a “I am cool with it” attitude.
“My baby will hate cleaning up and will give me a hard time.” You have to negotiate this with your kid. My rule with Tallulah: bath time immediately after end of the session, and each seassion usually lasts 30-60 minutes. It’s not negotiable, she is used to it and we have no problem. She especially loves it if I drop into the bath few of the tools she just used (small buckets, brushes, sponges), so that she can play with them in the water.
“The whole mess will be totally unmanageable”. With every session you will become more and more efficient and it will eventually come to a routine easy process to manage. I usually wash art tools by the bathroom sink, while Tallulah plays in the bath next to me. It takes 5-10 minutes.
Note: do not let your baby soak in the water, that is heavily stained with paint. I do not think it’s a healthy process. Put her in the bath, take off her clothes and rinse most of acrylic off with running tap water or flexible shower head, using sponge and soap. After most of acrylic gone off body and hair, fill the bath with clean water and let her play with already cleaned up art tools.
During painting process, I automatically drop into a water bucket every single tool that just been used. I never leave them to dry around, not for a minute. Acrylics dry fast and permanent on the items around. Make it a habit and you will be pleased with longevity of your art tools. Recently I noticed that Tallulah drops tools into the bucket automatically as well. Sometimes we clean them together, but mostly I do it myself while she bathes. Brushes need soap in addition to water.
Hope this helps and please email me if you have any more questions.