Art Therapy and Kids

Before you toss out those crayons which have been lying around the living room floor, try to practice those relaxation exercises you learned from anger management class. Breathe ever so deeply, slowly count to ten, and let your anger fly out the window. Instead of scolding your little one for leaving an artful mess on that newly polished floor, take consolation in the fact that aside from having a budding Michelangelo right there, your kid may simply be expressing his feelings and emotions through art.

Art therapy has been around for quite awhile, and children do benefit greatly from it. They seem to be more comfortable expressing themselves through art than verbally. Give them a paint brush and some poster paint, and they can freely paint their cares away.

Emotions are more easily processed when art is combined with music. For preschoolers, finger painting to music works effectively. This likewise proves to work with older kids. One way to do this “emotions exercise” through art is by having the kids choose their own medium. What will work best is music that evokes emotion. If possible, turn the lights off and have the kids draw to the music, encouraging them to just move their paints or pens to the music, without thinking of a certain form. Keep changing the music, so the kids can explore the influence of music on their artwork.

Art therapy also boosts a child’s self-esteem and helps with his personal development. You can do this by having your kid draw something about a skill he has just recently learned. Have him think about something he couldn’t do last year, but can do now. Another way is by having him draw a picture about something he wishes others knew about him.

A child likewise gains a more positive self-image and increases his self-awareness through art. You can help reinforce this by having him make a collage of pictures cut out from magazines which he feels best represents who he is.