Question: My 4 year old grandson just marked all over my bedroom walls with a permanent marker. What do I do? He is in my custody temporarily, so it is up to me.
Answer: Dear Carla:
I am not an expert on getting off permanent markers so however that is dealt with would be best. What I would do is explain to your 4 year old grandson that markers are for marking on paper. Try getting a large sheet of paper and then showing him where he can use the markers.
I often suggest to parents putting large pieces of papers on the walls and letting children color on the paper. However, I would keep the permanent markers up where the 4 year old cannot get a hold of them. If I am not mistaken they may not be good for them to ingest much less breathe in.
M Kay Keller
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: I know how to take care of the walls! It is him I'm concerned with. He knows he
was wrong, he has paper, crayons, color books, etc. I'm asking what is
Answer: Dear Carla:
I was trying to be tactful. My point was he is 4 years old, how did he get the permanent marker and mark up the walls? Isn't the adult suppose to be watching him?
I do not support punishments. The assumption that he knows it was wrong is wrong. He knows you are angry. He thought marking on the walls would be fun. You need to put permanent markers up where a 4 year old cannot get at them and be available enough that he doesn't have the opportunity to mark up a wall.
I would suggest cleaning the wall and letting him watch you as you explain why marking the walls is not appropriate and reinforcing that coloring on paper is appropriate by sitting down and coloring with him after the wall is cleaned.
Also, any action taken more than a minute or two after the incident is a waste of time. When we punish children it is not about the child it is about our need to feel vindicated.
Hopefully you two will spend sometime coloring tomorrow and have a wonderful day.