School can be difficult for our right-brain thinkers. Their ways of thinking are not understood by many educators and their behaviors can be disruptive when they are asked to fit into the “perfect” student mold. All of this can leave them with a feeling of disconnection that can lead to anxious thoughts.
May is Mental Health Awareness month and, while art might not cure your child’s anxiety, doing art has been proven a successful antidote. Here are some of the ways doing art helps kids reduce anxiety:
In an attempt to control or manage the feeling of impending doom, kids can hyper focus on what’s around them. This can be problematic and very limiting. Doing art pulls the attention away from inner worry and onto something external and much more constructive.
Kid size control
Anxiety can be overwhelming, making us feel out of control, as a result kids can be overly controlling as a way to manage and protect themselves. But when you’re a kid, there’s only so much you can control. Doing art, or another hobby they enjoy, can help kids feel in control because they are doing something they like and want.
Doing art can help kids express what they’re feeling but might have a hard time putting into words. Or it can do the opposite and distract them from their anxious thoughts, allowing their body to calm down. Don’t tell them what it’s supposed to do. Just get them drawing or making stuff and let the art do its magic.
If you’ve seen an increase in your child’s anxiety, you may want to get them some professional help. It’s best to address mental health concerns as they happen, to lessen chances of kids carrying their worries into adulthood. Many therapists use art therapy as a way for kids or adults to express feeling they may not have words for.
Don’t know how?
We don’t want the cure for anxiety to create more anxiety, so whatever form of art your child pursues, include some instruction. Whether its drawing, piano, dance or riding a bike, kids need to learn how. As they learn and gain confidence their time doing art will grow, giving them a skill that can last a lifetime.
There are so many ways and reasons to do art. It can be a fun way to create and a light-hearted way to manage deep feelings of anxiety, all at same time. With so many rich benefits, I hope you and your kids unleash your inner artist!