Art as therapy: The benefits of art for children
What comes to mind when you hear art? Art is an umbrella term for many creative outlets such as theater, music, dance, literature, and more. Although all art forms bring value to children in different ways, we will focus on visual arts. Visual arts refers to drawing, painting, collage, coloring, sculpting, and much more.
Art helps people explore their emotions, manage stress, relieve anxiety, among other things. It has been used as a form of treatment for people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), cancer patients going through chemo, people who have experienced trauma, and much more. Art therapy can be helpful to these people because it helps relieve stress and anxiety while channeling emotions in a creative way. However, art can benefit all sorts of people of all ages. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of art, specifically for children.
Art is beneficial for childrens’ language development and communication skills. For children who are visual thinkers, creating art can help them process and express their thoughts more easily. For children with difficulty expressing themselves verbally, creating art provides an alternative way for them to communicate. However, art can also help children become more comfortable communicating verbally. When kids talk about colors, shapes, and other elements in their artwork, they actively expand their vocabulary. Discussing art, whether it’s their own or someone else’s, teaches children to describe what they see and put their thoughts into words. Speaking and listening skills are both important, therefore hearing other children discuss their art is also beneficial.
Working on a craft or an art project is a great way for children to practice their patience and improve their focus. Art is also especially valuable for children who may struggle with emotional stability. With art, children have the opportunity to convey their emotions and express their feelings in a different way. Art therapy activities are meditative, quiet, and relaxing for most, this helps calm the nervous system. By participating in these activities, children can soothe symptoms of stress, reduce anxiety, and improve their overall emotional well-being. Furthermore, the quiet and meditative qualities of art also encourages time for reflection. Instead of putting your child in a time out, try giving them a paper and some markers. Let your child reflect and work through their emotions with art!
There are plenty of ways to enjoy art together, whether it’s with family, on a playdate, or in an art class. Art classes can provide children with a great sense of belonging! It’s a great place for children to meet other kids, build connections, and make new friends. For children who are more shy, it’s a great way for them to get out of their shell. Sometimes one-on-one conversations can be daunting for shy kids, a piece of art gives them something to talk about. Hearing someone's perspective is also easier when there is a visual to go along with it in the form of art!
Art teaches plenty of social skills in a more fun and relaxed environment. Round-robin art, for example, is an activity where each child works on a piece of art for a couple minutes and then passes it along. Since all of the children are working on one piece of art, they learn how to work together, adapt to new ideas, and take other perspectives into consideration. Discussing the artwork also teaches children empathy and understanding. Collaborative activities like these also teach children to share. Art supplies can be limited, learning how to wait for your turn, be patient, and share is very important.
Confidence and Self-Esteem
Art promotes self-expression which can help boost confidence. Creating art can also provide children with a sense of purpose. There are so many types of art, and the best thing about it is that there is no right or wrong. For this reason, art is incredibly valuable to children who may be struggling in school or in social situations. It is not good for a child’s self-esteem to be told that they are wrong on a regular basis, whether its bad grades or school bullies. If you have a child who is interested in art, let them talk about their art and ask them open-ended questions about it. You can also celebrate their work by complimenting their art, providing thoughtful feedback, and praising their effort. Let your child decide what they want to paint or draw and resist the urge to change their mind. All of these efforts will benefit your child’s confidence and self-esteem.
Have we inspired you or your child to begin exploring the world of art? Share pictures of your beautiful artwork with us on Instagram @Babysits! If you need some creative inspiration, be sure to click hereto see some of our fun art projects.