My Little Masterpiece

How to Use Art to Help Your Little One’s Mental Health

Childhood, especially in today’s world, can be quite a stressful experience for your little one. The world has changed in so many ways, and these changes may have had an impact on your little one’s mental health. Sharing their experiences and expressing their feelings can have a massive positive impact.

The world has changed in so many ways, and these changes may have had an impact on your little one’s mental health

 

Why Art Helps

 

Children don’t always process the world around them in the same way that adults do. They also don’t have the same level of understanding as adults. They don’t always have the ability to verbally express themselves, or the ability to process difficult experiences. They’re still learning, and developing, and part of this is developing their understanding of their world.

 

Art can give them a space to express themselves when they don’t have the words. They can use art to imagine possibilities, explore new ways of communicating, and explore their relationships, environments, and build a better understanding of their experiences.

 

Tips On Supporting Your Child’s Art

 

These tips can help you support your child to express themselves through art.

 

  • Create a nurturing environment. Make sure that your little one has different art supplies and tools. Crayons, pencils, washable paints, glitter, paintbrushes, sponges, play dough, and even different household items are good supplies to have. Make sure you have a variety of different colours.
  • Make sure your child is comfortable. Some children might prefer to paint or draw on the floor. Others will prefer to sit at a table. It doesn’t matter which they prefer, what matters is that they feel comfortable and safe.
  • Stay close by, but don’t take the lead. If your little one wants you to draw with them, do some doodling. Younger children might like to talk through their ideas or share something in their lives as they’re painting. Older children might want to work a bit more independently, but you should stay in the room, while not being directly involved in the art. Just let them know that you’re there if they want to talk about something or ask for help.
  • Avoid putting pressure on your little one about when and what to create. Art is about self-expression, and your little one should feel in control. Let your child create as they want, just give them the space, and tools to allow them to do it.
  • Always give your child positive feedback when they show you their artworks. Don’t try to ‘improve’ on it or give any criticisms of it at all. Even if you can’t work out what it’s supposed to be, don’t say that. Instead, you can say something like, ‘this is a beautiful picture, could you tell me more about it?’
  • Other questions can be asked to encourage your little one to open up or share how they’re feeling. You could ask about a specific colour they used or share why you like a certain colour and how it makes you feel.
  • If your child asks, take the time to create art together. Creating art together gives your child a fun experience, and shows them that you’re there for them, no matter what they want to talk about.
  • Remember that whatever your child creates is valid. The art may reflect feelings they have, or something they’ve experienced.