The Secret of Parenting with Art

Can coloring and art be used as parenting tools?

We believe they can.

Psychologists have been using art therapy (drawing, painting, etc.) for years to help children and adults express themselves and explore their own feelings. While parents may not be psychologists, they can use a similar approach to help children explore their emotions in a relaxed way.

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According to Marygrace Berberian, a certified art therapist and the Clinical Assistant Professor for the Graduate Art Therapy Program at NYU, "Coloring definitely has therapeutic potential to reduce anxiety, create focus or bring [about] more mindfulness."

Coloring books with a message provide an opportunity for kids to relax, have fun and express themselves artistically. They can also open the door to important conversations with parents while kids are feeling open.

Coloring books make things easy for families because they’re structured, but less structured art projects can take things even further. As Melody Milbrandt, a professor of arts education at Georgia State University and the 2015 National Art Educator of the Year told CNN, "Part of what we encourage children to do through art is to construct meaning and synthesize their understandings of the world. To engage at a deeper level." When a child creates a totally unique piece of art, they’re able to dig deep into their own feelings and views of the world.

Parenting With Art Hopscotch Girls

If you want to try using art as a parenting tool, you can look for coloring books (like ours), or try an art challenge. The beauty of an art challenge is that you can customize it depending on your parenting need. Just give your daughter a prompt (ex: think about a time you afraid, but did something anyway), and have her respond with a piece of art. When she’s done, have her show you her work and talk about what she was thinking when she created it. To get the most out of the exercise, ask questions and really dig into the topic.

Art and coloring can be helpful for families, and a lot of fun!


CNN: Why adult coloring books are good for you

NPR: Coloring Books And Worksheets: What's The Value Of 'Staying In The Lines'?

Melissa Foley