wikiHow to Get a Toddler to Stop Writing on Walls

Sooner or later, kids with crayons seem inevitably to stray onto the walls. Young kids just aren't born knowing where it's okay to draw and where it isn't. If your child has taken to leaving their "fine art" on your walls, here's a solution!


  1. Image titled Get a Toddler to Stop Writing on Walls Step 1
    Store art materials out of reach when they're not in use. When they are in use, provide appropriate surfaces for drawing, and supervise. This is as much for the child's safety as for your walls.
    • A plastic tablecloth makes a good drop cloth (whether on the table or the floor), especially for messier art projects, such as painting.
  2. Image titled Get a Toddler to Stop Writing on Walls Step 2
    Emphasize that all artwork is done on paper (or other approved medium) not on other things. Use short, direct language. When art work goes wandering, redirect the toddler. If the child persists, take away the materials immediately.
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    Provide other outlets for creativity, as long as your child is old enough to distinguish between places where artwork is encouraged and places where artwork is not allowed.
    • If weather is mild, have the toddler explore chalk art on the pavement or sidewalk outdoors. Funneling this creative energy outside can prevent it inside.
      Image titled Get a Toddler to Stop Writing on Walls Step 3Bullet1
    • In snowy weather, build snow structures outside and paint with water and food coloring or watercolor paint.
    • Purchase bath paint or crayons, which can be used at bath time. It allows the child to draw on walls, and make bath time more fun.
  4. Image titled Get a Toddler to Stop Writing on Walls Step 4
    Make a wall just for drawing on.
    • Decide which wall is going to be approved for your toddler to write on. Measure this space's width, and about a foot over your toddler's head.
    • Take two to four pieces of large, white poster board, overlap them, and tape them together on the back side, so the finished piece will be about 2 inches (5.1 cm) short of what you measured.
    • Center the new piece on the wall of choice. Tape the poster board onto the wall, using the 2" wide blue painters tape, (get at any hardware store). The tape should cover 1" of poster board all the way around, and right up to the edge of door frame, or corner. The blue tape won't take the paint off when you take it down.
    • Cover the poster board with a layer of butcher paper or other large paper, if you prefer. This will make it easier to replace when it gets filled up.
    • Explain this is the wall they can write on, and not to write on or outside the tape. If they write on any other wall, they will be disciplined.
    • As the pieces get filled, you can now save your toddler's fine art work. (This can also be fun to use as wrapping paper, especially for gifts for grandparents!)
  5. Image titled Get a Toddler to Stop Writing on Walls Step 5
    Teach the toddler to write on paper.


  • Toddlers do not know 'graffiti' is wrong. If this is a first offense, simply explain walls are not for drawing or painting on.
  • An alternate idea: Paint stores sell a type of chalkboard paint. All that is required is to mark off and paint the area, let it dry, and buy the child chalk.
  • Not a lot of wall space? You can also use the back of a door. Be sure it won't be one that will needed to opened and closed during art time!
  • Only allow young children washable art materials, such as markers, tempera and watercolor paint. It will save you a lot of headaches.
  • Consider buying or making an easel. It may be easier to have a permanent designated area for art projects long-term, and is easier to manage on a daily basis.


  • Supervise your toddler as he or she does artwork! This is for safety (making sure your toddler doesn't try to eat the markers), and for cleanliness (your toddler may still scribble on the floor, and for other reasons (your child may decide to decorate Baby).They may write on the walls in permanent marker.
  • Be consistent and patient with your toddler. It may be hard for him or her to understand the difference between drawing on one surface versus another.
  • Keep all writing materials out of the toddler's reach. This is not only to keep the house tidy, but for safety: materials such as permanent markers, oil paints, and the like can make a curious toddler sick if it is ingested!

Things You'll Need

  • 2-4 large pieces of poster board or other large paper.
  • Blue painters' tape.
  • Non-toxic, washable art materials (markers, paint, crayons, etc.)

Article Info

Categories: Behavioral Issues