The secret language of children are scribbles

Children dazzle us with their way of acting. Having not yet internalized a standard way of communicating, they are very original in the context of social interaction. One of the options is children's scribbles, that is, features with a particular sense that, at first glance, can give the sensation of having no meaning.

As children grow, their way of communicating becomes more structured. Then, the scribbles become drawings, words, phrases and stories, as tools for their expression.

We will demonstrate that these consist of scribbles made by children, as it is a form of secret language that brings a bit of curiosity to this expressive world.


What are the children's scribbles?

Scribbles are creative traits that tend to gain complexity as the child grows. In principle, they may seem more impulsive and disordered, since the baby has not yet developed the motor skill.

However, each line will have a meaning, that we could understand if the designer could explain what he called, or if we had enough resources to interpret them.

In general, the traces can be followed by a thread. In them, we can see reflected:

  • Feelings.
  • Wishes.
  • Fears
  • The stage of the child's development.
  • The biological rhythms of the child.

So we are talking about a form of communication. That is why psychologists and psychiatrists interpret them, that is, they use them as an instrument to analyze the child's problems, whether they are biological, because they explain their development, or psychological, because they talk about their inner world. Scribbles have essentially two components:

  • The signal: is the manifestation of intention, spontaneity or attempt to convey a message.

  • The design: it is the domain that the child shows. That is, the ease or not that the child manifests when he makes the drawing.

Now, scribbles are related to sensory and motor aspects. The sensory aspects are in tune with what the child perceives or with the stimuli to which it is sensitive. The motor aspect is the element that will allow you to act in that external world.

The secret language of children

Scribbles are a form of language. This is because it is one of the forms of expression that children have. Although it is a primitive act, they can be loaded with meaning.

We speak of manifestations with which the child builds communication bridges with the other when he does not know how to do it with words or prefers not to do so.

As suggested by Evi Crotti, pedagogue and psychologist, and Alberto Magni, a doctor who is dedicated to psychosomatic disorders and psychotherapy in his book doodles and drawings: scratches, "the fact of scribbling on a sheet of paper allows the communication between the child and the adult ".

The language is presented through several forms. It is the "faculty of human beings to express themselves and communicate with others through the signal of other articulated and sound systems." It is not only about speech, but also about writing, nonverbal and symbols.

Therefore, scribbles are embedded within language, being a form of expression. It is a way for children to tell us something about their inner world.

Interpretation of children's scribbles

To interpret the squiggles, two fundamental aspects must be taken into account:

  • The maturity of the nervous system: according to the representative capacity. It is characterized by well-defined bases in which motor skills, space, symbolic function and language are emphasized, among other things.

  • We are not all trained to interpret. We must be aware that, although there are some parameters that indicate certain things, the only ones that can make an objective interpretation and that are legally authorized for it are the specialists. These professionals are usually psychologists, psycho-pedagogues and psychiatrists, although this depends on the legislation of each country.

Here are some guidelines for the interpretation of children's scribbles. But remember that this will depend on the uniqueness of each child, and that these indications are not enough to make a coherent and complete interpretation.

They are only some indications that can help you if you feel or perceive that something is happening with the child. In any case, do not hesitate to look for a professional, if you consider it necessary.

It is important to observe to interpret children's scribbles.


What should we consider?

  • Mode: allows to evaluate the way in which the child has the pencil and thus assess whether it is a peaceful and free expression, or the manifestation of some kind of tension.

  • The starting point: when the child begins to draw the center of the sheet, it usually indicates that it is in the outside world. Otherwise, there may be shyness or tension.

  • Space: when space is complete, indicate confidence, extroversion and desire to grow. Otherwise, it can show a child with fear, inhibited and introverted.

  • Pressure: if the light will indicate a sensitive nature child. When it is very marked, it indicates high energy and the need for ample space.

  • The trace: it's safe, it's a sign of silence. Otherwise, it can be a sign of something scary or a consequence of too strict education.

  • The form: each circle, line, curve, angle, broken lines ... are a reflection of how the child is placed in the world, that is, the way in which it is perceived and developed. For example:

  • Circle: This is the best-known image of the child's projection: the face.

  • Angles: shows tension and current.

  • Squiggles with acute strokes: show an intense emotional life and a request for contact due to a concern.

  • Dashed lines: means fear of separation from objects or people you love.


Colors can also have a meaning. They can show characteristics of aggression, joy, love, etc. The psychology of color shows us each of those meanings. For example, red can be synonymous with impulsiveness, yellow for joy, black fear, sadness or aggression, and white tranquility.

The scribbles children make can be a sample of their inner world. Being attentive to them can help us know how they feel. It is a wonderful language that is becoming increasingly elaborate.

While it is "secret", since the first did not know that, through its interpretation can find its meaning and therefore we are more aware of their personality, and also what happens to them.