Blank walls often tempt children to draw on them.

How to Stop a Child From Drawing on the Walls

by Chelsea Fitzgerald

Your enthusiasm over your child's glorious creativity dims when you realize she's used your walls as a canvas, again. Cleaning the wall is time-consuming, and sometimes the marks don't come off completely, leaving you the choice of living with an impromptu "mural" or spending time and money repainting. Children master the task of scribbling with crayons, markers and other writing utensils at about 18 months, and while that may be bad news for your wallpaper, it's good news for your toddler's development -- strengthening cognitive and motor abilities, providing emotional release, and promoting autonomy. Keep all that good stuff and your color scheme, too, by providing appropriate areas for your little Van Gogh to work.

Ideas to Stop Wall Drawing

Talk to your child about appropriate places to draw and color. Explain that everything has a place, and just as a goldfish bowl does not belong in the refrigerator, artwork does not belong on the walls.

Place a cleaning cloth with kid-safe cleanser in your child's hand and show him how to scrub his artwork off the walls. Make sure he continues to work on the wall until the job is done. If the little artist covered a large area, he may tire quickly. Provide him with a chair to sit in while he watches everyone else clean the walls. Do not allow him to play with his toys or do other enjoyable activities until the job is complete. If the wall requires painting, make sure he helps during this process as well. You can always go back over the area he painted later.

Purchase coloring books, art pads, an easel and writing utensils for your little one to use for his drawings. Instruct him to do his artwork only in these areas. Explain that punishment will follow if you discover artwork elsewhere.

Buy a roll of butcher paper. Tear off a large piece and tape it down low on a wall area so your child can easily reach all the surfaces. Tape it with painter's tape, which won't pull off the existing paint when you remove it. Tape the paper on her bedroom wall, the playroom or even a wall in the den. Tell her she can draw or color to her heart's content on this area but nowhere else. This is an inexpensive way to provide a large area for your youngster to express her creativity. It only takes a minute to replace the paper once she covers it with drawings.

Using Chalkboard Paint to Provide a Large Area to Draw

Pick a section of wall in your child's bedroom or playroom to paint with chalkboard paint. You can even paint a section of wall in the den or other area where the child spends a lot of time.

Mark off a large rectangle or square area by using painter's tape. Make this area down low on the wall so that your child can reach it easily.

Paint inside the tape with chalkboard paint and a regular paintbrush. Allow it to dry according to the directions on the can, typically two or three days. Read the directions to determine if two or three coats are necessary. If so, allow each one to dry before adding another coat.

Rub over the painted area with a large piece of white chalk and then erase it. This preps the area for your child's amazing drawings.

Buy a box of colorful chalk for your child. Instruct him that this is his special area to draw pictures. Give him a damp paper towel or cloth to erase the artwork. Breathe a sigh of relief as he expresses his creativity in an appropriate area.

Items you will need

  • Cleaning cloth
  • Wall-cleaning solution
  • Small chair
  • Coloring books, art pad or easel
  • Writing or drawing utensils
  • Butcher paper
  • Painter's tape
  • Chalkboard paint
  • Paintbrush
  • White chalk
  • Box of colored chalk
  • Paper towel


  • Chalkboard paint and painter's tape are available at most hardware, discount and paint stores.
  • Butcher paper is available at discount, office and art-supply stores.
  • If you walk into a room and discover your child filling all the wall surfaces with scribbles, take a picture before reacting. The situation may not be amusing now, but it makes an excellent addition to your photo albums. For another memory-making photo, take pictures of your child scrubbing the wall in order to remove the artwork.
  • Magnetic paint is another way to provide a section of the wall for your child to express creativity once he is older. Apply magnetic alphabet letters to teach your preschooler to spell his own name and simple words. Magnetic shapes and other designs are readily available at toy, office-supply and discount stores.

About the Author

Chelsea Fitzgerald covers topics related to family, health, green living and travel. Before her writing career, she worked in the medical field for 21 years. Fitzgerald studied education at the University of Arkansas and University of Memphis.

Photo Credits

  • Visage/Stockbyte/Getty Images