The Painting Therapy Method for Managing Feelings with Kids
Art can be great therapy for all of us. Being very mindful and creative through different art forms can help children relax and have some quiet time while still keeping their hands busy. Remember that quiet time for a child is sometimes very unnatural for them, although we know it’s good for them. Furthermore, not all children know how to do this and it does not instinctively happen. Gentle encouragement, overtime is good practice to follow.
Art does not always need to come as a finished product or piece; sometimes, art can be used to relax children. This blog offers some more interesting ideas for art therapy.
If you have a child or children in your class who need time to relax and be calm, collect their emotions, but find being still challenging, try some of our painting therapy for kids ideas below.
First, think about where you’re going to do this. Ideally, you want this area set up for whenever the child needs to access it. A bit like you would use a nurture room; it may even be based in here. Name it ‘The Painting Therapy Zone’. You may want to use this every time the child shows escalated negative emotions to help reset and relax. However, as you begin to get to know the child you are working with, you may want to do this before these episodes occur, pre-empting when these emotions occur. For example, if the child tends to find lunchtimes difficult, go over to the Painting Therapy Zone beforehand and start to relax and rewind before lunch arrives to take their mind off it and reset, be ready and refreshed. However, ultimately you know your children best; these are simply ideas. You have to go with the flow and sometimes, every day is different and requires a different method entirely.
Here are some suggested ideas of how to use The Painting Therapy Method. Place these ideas on a cement tray or tough spot:
- Offer some stones, paints and paintbrushes and ask the children to paint all of the rocks choosing the preferred colours they would like. Try and do this outside where sounds and noises are a little less overwhelming. Perhaps you could have an outdoor nurture area specifically for calming emotions using various SEND Muddy Puddle methods. Head to our SEN area for more. Alternatively, it could be done indoors and try putting some natural, classical or jazz music on.
- Similarly to the task above, vary what you offer the child/children to paint each time. Keep with natural resources such as conkers, acorns, leaves, sticks, petals as natural items are believed to give off powerful, happy hormones designed to relax us.
- Alternatively, upcycled items may also be offered.
- Why not try making up some of your own natural paints, such as mud paint? Find some mud and mix it with a bit of water to get a runny consistency. Or try experimenting and make natural paint with blackberries, strawberries or beetroot.
Once the child has painted the rocks or other alternative items, offer some bubbly water and wash them. This is equally a fun task and helps you prepare for the next time the child may need to visit this nurturing area for some painting therapy. It also makes them responsible for their little space and has ownership over it.