How Crafting Helps Kids to Communicate Their Feelings
Understanding how your child is feeling is such a crucial part of your relationship, but sometimes just talking alone doesn’t work. Children dealing with a separation or divorce may sometimes find it difficult to express their big emotions verbally.
When communicating emotions with words is tough, finding other avenues that help your child express their feelings can be an excellent outlet for them. Crafting is one such activity that can help kids express how they’re feeling and open up the communication channels between you.
Communicating Through Craft When They Don’t Have the Words
Young children often don’t yet have the vocabulary to be able to describe the complex emotions they can be feeling. Being able to express themselves creatively can give toddlers and pre-schoolers a way to show you how they feel and what’s important to them. Through painting, drawing, sticking, glueing and moulding, they’ll find ways of expressing themselves that don’t require words.
Craft Ideas For Communicating Emotions
You can create pictures together that represent different emotions and talk about what those emotions feel like. Draw happy, sad, angry, confused and scared faces, and ask your child which picture they’re feeling like at the moment. You could even draw those faces onto colourful balls and play games with them.
On a more subtle level, you could ask them to choose colours that represent how they’re feeling at that moment. You can then encourage them to make shapes and move the paintbrush in ways that express their emotions. This can be a powerful cathartic experience that helps them to get those feelings out. You can then look at the artworks together and discuss how they make you feel. Later, try the process again and see if things have changed.
Crafting to Express Love
Creating something for someone else is also a great way for kids to communicate their feelings and show their love for somebody or something important in their life. This is particularly helpful when children have two homes each with different people and pets whom they might miss when they’re staying at their other home.
You could craft together to make DIY hamster toys, cat toys or dog toys to help them express their love for their pets and still feel that connection even when they’re not with them. As well as DIY pet toys, crafting is a great way to make cards for parents and siblings to show how they feel. Creating pictures that express their deep feelings can be a very liberating experience, and will also be very much appreciated by the recipient.
Crafting Together to Create a Shared Experience
Talking to children about their feelings can be challenging, but kids tend to open up about their emotions when they’re feeling safe and close to you. By working together on a craft project, you’re setting up a positive environment to foster creativity. That can help kids to feel more comfortable communicating their feelings. It’s also a great way of spending quality time together for its own sake, even if you don’t get a lot of opening up the first time you try.
Children crafting side-by-side can also be a fruitful way to work out emotions together. When siblings, step-siblings and half-siblings come together in a shared activity like craft, they might be more likely to open up in this relaxed environment and work together to complete a larger craft project as a team.
Other Emotional Benefits of Crafting
Creating this shared experience is one of the major benefits of arts and crafts for children. The fact that you are working together will help them feel valued. Crafting can also help increase their self-esteem and confidence, as they can solve problems, learn that it’s okay to make mistakes and find new ways to do things.
By persevering to the end of a craft project and being patient with the process, they’ll build on their tenacity and determination. Learning a new skill and seeing their finished works will help to raise their self-esteem and leave them feeling proud of what they've achieved.
Crafting is just one way that you can help kids to communicate their feelings. Creating a safe, open, relaxed environment where they can say anything is always going to help children open up about their emotions. By giving them the tools to express themselves in ways other than with spoken words, you’ll be helping them to get across the things that matter most of all to them.
Eleanor Cains enjoys writing about parenting, child behavior, and the transformative power of craft.