By Mayra Lopez, Registered Marriage Family Therapist Intern
Child Guidance Center’s Mayra Lopez, registered marriage family therapist intern, talks about how important it is for children to express themselves through play. This is the second in a three-part series.
Encouraging your little Rembrandts to express themselves through art helps them build communication skills and confidence. So, why not organize a family drawing hour where everyone’s creativity is allowed to soar! All it takes are a few art supplies and an hour of enthusiastic participation.
You may want to start everyone off with a theme, model or prompt. Very young children may find it difficult to paint a specific object, so try a verbal prompt at first. For example, have everyone draw their version of a perfect day. For more whimsy, try “If I had wings” or “My super hero powers.”
Play music to get everyone in the mood. Also, make sure adults and older children don’t criticize younger children as they create. This is a time for everyone’s minds and hands to let loose. After your art is complete, talk about it. Don’t let children hide their work because they are embarrassed. Encourage even your youngest artists to describe their painting and tell the story behind it. Make sure everyone has an opportunity to share and be appreciative of all your artists’ talents.
If your session is successful, vary the artistic media. Try watercolors, oil pastels and finger paints (yes, adults love finger paints, too)! Or consider incorporating crafts into your time together. Glitter, glue and stamps can be managed by just about every age.
Over time, you may find your children preparing for family art time by making sketches during the week or collecting pictures from magazines. Encourage their enthusiasm and make sure their themes are often included in your prompts. You may find that “art night” becomes a beloved tradition for your family.
Next time, we’ll provide tips for encouraging children to journal as a great way to reflect, develop their own identity, nurture their creativity, and build communication and writing skills.