Practicing art as a family can offer benefits in overall well-being and self-care.
The art process can help families strengthen their bond and better appreciate each other’s varied perspectives. It also encourages the family’s creative thinking skills and stimulates the family’s identity as a team. This in turn can help with mental health care and well-being for the family.
The creative expression through the therapeutic art process allows the family to gain new insight about themselves and each other. It fosters creative thinking and is a healthy creative outlet and coping mechanism for the family while allowing the family to connect. It empowers children with confidence and reinforces the building of optimism, resiliency and strength in the family. Art brings the family together to talk, laugh, learn, share ideas and create.
Creating art together as a family aids in teaching problem-solving skills, self-love and appreciation. Parents can utilize art as a confidence-building tool for their kids because there is no right or wrong way to create art. It is calming and is a fun, healthy activity to do as a family.
Art also aids in emotional expression and allows us to stop, breathe and experience soothing calmness. Art as a family brings joyfulness, can bring out imagination, laughter and a shared love of creating. The creative art-making process brings feelings of pride, success and allows for healthy self-expression and self-awareness.
Some beneficial, fun art workshops and art activities I often do with families include the below. These also make great mom-and-kids activities in time for Mother’s Day.
- A family collaborative painting where the theme or subject of the painting is personalized and each individual’s piece comes together to create one image works well. For example, it could be a special word and symbolization, an abstract design, or images that come together to make a cohesive picture.
- Family collages are always a great expressive, mindful, relaxing and crafty activity. It is also really great fun for the younger kids. It is a great, playful introduction to art. Collaging could include various soothing and stimulating sensory elements, such as feathers and pom-poms. It could include painting, as well. This is a great activity where the family comes together and adds their own special touches to the artwork, which they can cherish forever, along with the colorful memories.
- A mommy (or daddy)-and-me art journal is a wonderful tool I like to introduce to families that they can utilize together. It is a safe personal space where parent and child can communicate, express and create daily. Making the journal is a crafty, fun activity and the family can personalize the outside together. Inside they can use almost every kind of art medium they’d like.
The possibilities of art activities to do as a family are endless and so healing. I often enjoy finding, guiding and tailoring the activity specifically for each family, so we can find what is most enjoyable. This in turn will hopefully inspire and motivate to involve art and creativity as a useful tool or mindful activity to do as a unit in each family’s everyday life for healthy coping, self-care, self-love and wellness.
Diana Shabtai, Psy.D., is the owner of Art Therapy OC in Newport Beach. Visit them at arttherapyoc.com or follow them at @ArtTherapyOC.