A powerful way to communicate with your children
As any parent knows, it’s not always easy to keep the lines of communication open with our children. When they are babies, we struggle to decode what every cry, whimper and gesture means. When they become school age, we struggle to find out about their day when they aren’t with us, only to be met with vague, one-word answers like “Fun!” or “Fine” or “OK.” Doesn’t tell us much, right? As parents, we are often looking for ways to make meaningful connections to our children and to keep the lines of communication open. Art can be a powerful way to connect with our children in a way that doesn’t feel intimidating or intrusive.
There are lots of ways to connect with your children through art:
Take an art class together
There are many places where classes are offered for families. This can give parents and kids an opportunity to explore a mutual hobby together, have fun, spend quality time, and create something they can be proud of. From painting to pottery, there’s a million ways to connect through art.
Create something together
With the holidays upon us, it’s the perfect opportunity to do something crafty together. Make ornaments for the tree, spend time creating holiday gifts for family members (Grandma and Grandpa will love that!) or make Christmas cards to send to family members.
Write a story
Have you ever considered writing a story with your kids? It can be a fun way to gain insight into how they see the world. Here’s an idea: Brainstorm with your child about a starting point, then let your child start the story. Give them a fun notebook and writing supplies to make it fun, and let their imagination go crazy! Let them write until they want to stop (even if they keep the notebook with them for a few days to write a bit at a time) and then ask them to pass the book off to you. Write a bit yourself, then pass the book back. Don't let thoughts like But I'm not a writer! stop you from this activity. The goal isn't to create an award-winning short story; it's to create a piece of artistic expression with your child. It's will be very interesting to see where the story goes!
This works in a similar way to the story idea above. Start a picture by drawing something simple, such as a circle. Then have your child add a detail and pass it back to you. Add something and pass it back to your child. You never know where the activity will take you! It’s a great activity for those times when you are waiting for food at a restaurant, or even in the car (you can pass the paper back and forth between the front and back seat).
Create an art journal
Art journaling is a wonderful way to connect with your children. It allows you to experience their inner selves and to share more of yourself with your children, too. There are lots of printable art journaling resources online, but if you are looking for something you can purchase (perhaps for holiday gift giving?) I have an amazing resource for you. Mom and Me: An Art Journal to Share by Lacy Mucklow and Bethany Robertson
This book is amazing! On each double-page spread, there’s a different art activity to do – one side for you, and one side for your child. The book is divided into chapters such as All About Me, Friends and Family, Looking Back, In the Moment, and Feelings, with activities such as a blank tear drop with instructions to fill it with things that make you feel sad, or a hear to fill with feelings we feel most often.
The book offers the perfect way to connect with your child on a deeper, more meaningful level while expressing yourself through art as well. In addition to getting to know your child’s inner self more, you can also share more of yourself with them, too, which will help to forget strong connections not only as mother and child, but also as individuals. When your child understands, for example, that you feel sadness, loneliness, and fear, as well as what makes you happy, hopeful, and excited, they will feel more comfortable sharing more of themselves as well. This art journal will also help your children to make sense of feelings they may not have been able to name in the past.
If you’re looking for a gift for your child this holiday season, consider giving Mom and Me: An Art Journal to Share . Bundle it with some drawing pencils, coloured pencils, and/or watercolour paints and you’ve got a perfect gift. It also makes a great gift for a mom friend and her children, or even a teacher with young kids. This holiday season, give the gift of artistic impression!