“Do you hear it?” a young boy looked up at his mother with wide eyes. 
“Hear what?” his mother asked.
“My heart,” he said. “It’s whispering!”
“What is it saying, honey?”
“It says…” He listened for a moment, “It says….keep listening.”
~From the book Child of Wonder
Art can be a predominant method that helps your child calm down, focus and let go of overactive mental activities for a while.  Art can help your child to tune within, be present and truly feel what is going on inside.  It’s those whispers of the heart, when listened to, when heard, that provide deep relaxation of the body and nervous system.  It’s being genuinely heard and seen that generates a deep feeling of being safe, a feeling that all is well.
blank canvas
There are infinite ways to get present, to tune within, and to calm down the mind and body.    Art can also be a powerful tool for deeper connection between you and your child.  My kids and I have experienced many peaceful moments together by being present to the process of art.  It really doesn’t matter what the medium is.  It can be photography, watercolor, pencils, baking, making mosaic garden stones or even the Indian art of mendhi, which is henna art, (see below :)), it really doesn’t matter.  It is the meaningful connection that you are going for.    My daughter, Maddie, and I spent an evening recently drawing on each other with henna.  The soothing eucalyptus oil in the henna was very relaxing.
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 We also have fun with photography.  Remember relaxation is a natural by-product of enjoyment.  We like to relax by exploring nature, exploring the city……EXPLORING.  This photo session was energy enhancing in that we laughed, stimulated our creativity, and had a good time doing it.  That was relaxation practice in disguise!
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Notice I didn’t say the product of art, but rather it’s the process, the journey through artful expression, that provides the deepest access to our inner heart whispers.  I’m featuring a couple of books that have inspired my work with children, both in schools and with my own kids at home. Both of these books speak to the process rather than the end product, that’s why I like them so much!  So, I invite you to explore them, take away the inspiration that resonates for you and your child.  And, above all……relax and enjoy.
Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 2.53.40 PMKids Play

This book is a beautiful book:  perfect for the parent who wants to inspire and expand their child’s creativity. While reading it, I can sense a presence in Michele’s words and can feel the depth of her connection with children and their process of art.  The focus of the book is helping children to get in touch with their inner creative power, and how parents can help to guide them there in a safe and supportive environment. Her writing not only gives permission, but deeply encourages children to be themselves, to express whatever is coming forth from within them.  She talks about the “suspense of mental exploration” and waiting to see what unfolds during the art process.  Her mission is for adults to provide “gentle guidance that points them in the direction of their own heart, that still point at the center….”

 

The Artful Parent by Jean Van’t Hul

 

This book is an awesome resource.  It discusses ways to infuse art into your daily life and provides 62 activities in order to do so.  I also liked the way that she talks about a special place at home to do art, making it a special energy dedicated to just art.  It has beautiful sweet pictures too.

 

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So, this week, I encourage you to explore how art can bring a sense of calm and connection to you and your child.  Allow the playful heart to relax and explore, completely letting go for a while to just…..BE.

Have fun relaxing!!

 

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