Last week I talked about the benefit of art/creativity to re-focus the mind and to express yourself when you struggle to do so in other ways such as verbally. Today I want to share some examples on how the creative technique can help children to express themselves, but first are some more benefits of getting in touch with your creative side:
Sense of achievement
Starting with a blank page and filling it can give a huge sense of achievement and satisfaction whether you fill it with drawings or words. Just like starting off with a range of ingredients or a blank patch of lawn and cooking something delicious or creating a colourful garden can. You can get a kit for anything and get making without feeling stressed and overwhelmed.
Less screen time
However you are choosing to be creative it generally means you’re not sitting in front of screen, this means you’re taking control of improving your mood rather than letting TV or the internet do it for you. The action of doing something for yourself to improve your mood in itself improves the mood.
When you’re feeling stressed, anxious or depressed it’s very hard to feel enthusiastic, positive or able to focus on the future. Creativity however inspires more creativity. More idea come to you, new projects to try or new skills to cultivate.
Ok so how we can help kids? Art can be used to help children regulate and manage their feeling on a day to day basis as well as help them deal with bigger issues like medical issues, divorce or bereavement. There are many fantastic qualified art therapists out there if you feel your child needs more of this support.
Here however are some techniques you can try yourself:
1) Keeping a feelings journal.
Children express themselves visually from a very young age and creating an art journal is a great way to do this. It’s a way for children to express and share their thoughts, feelings, events without the need to write or talk. It’s also a great thing to do with your kids modelling it for them e.g. “I’m so happy it’s spring I’m going to create a page about all the things I love about this time of year.” Or “ I felt really stressed about work this week, I’m going to use colours to show to I felt and let it go.”
2) Making worry stones
There’s two ways of doing this the first is to collect stones from the beach and decorate these or you can use salt dough to make your own. The stones should be small enough to fit in a pocket. Once your worry stone is made explain to children that just rubbing the stones can help them to calm and focus when they feel anxious or they can name their worry and tell the stone what it is that’s worrying them.
3) self esteem poster
There are so many ways to do this. You could use a picture of your child and help them draw images, words or colours around it to positively describe themselves. Or you could use an old piece of wallpaper to draw around your child and create something similar within the outline.
4) self esteem tree
This is similar to an example I gave last week for adults. Draw an outline of a tree and colour/decorate it. Cut out some leaves and on each one ask the child to write (or help them to) the thinks they like about themselves or think they’re good at. Finally glue the leaves to the tree. This can also be done as a flower.
5) textured paint
There’s so many ways to do this….all of them are messy, sensory and fun! Mixing shaving cream and paint together with their hands mix up a choice of colours and dab the onto paper to make a pattern or picture then either add another piece of paper on top or fold the paper in half. Another example is to put paint dabs on a piece of paper the cover in cling film and have the children squish and move the paint around under the cling film.