Learning how to regulate your emotions can be one of the hardest things to tackle while growing up. However, it’s a skill that can help children deal with the everyday challenges of life.
Whether they’re happy, mad, sad or any feeling in between, your child probably has lots of emotions. Sometimes, those emotions may be hard for them to identify or even control.
Psychologists from Brooklyn College tested a method that uses drawing to help children regulate their emotions.
In one study, kids were asked to think about a time they experienced disappointment.
Half of the children were asked to draw the disappointing experience as a way to vent their frustration and the other half was asked to draw a house as a means of distraction.
The children were given five minutes then were asked about their mood.
The researchers found that while both groups reported an improvement in mood after drawing, the group drawing houses reported a greater improvement in mood than the venting group.
The study was then performed again on a separate group of children, this time adding a third group that was instructed to copy a drawing.
Researchers found that the kids who were instructed to free-hand draw a house had a greater improvement in mood over the one who were told to copy an image.
The bottom line: When emotions are overwhelming, get out the paper, pencil and let the creativity fly.
One exception to the study, researchers found, may be in the case of a traumatic event. This is where drawing things related to their experience may allow kids to talk about it and help in their long-term recovery.
Previous research in adults has found many forms of creative expression, including drawing, dance, music and expressive writing, can also have a positive impact on mood — decreasing negative emotions and increasing positive ones.