In recent years coloring has become quite popular for both children and adults, especially gaining recognition as a mindful and meditative practice. Coloring provides many benefits for kids and adults alike, hence its recent spike in popularity. Coloring can help reduce anxiety, stress, and depression. It provides a much needed break from the constant overstimulation of daily life, and serves as an important form of play, even for adults and older kids. So how does coloring coincide with mindfulness?
What is mindful coloring?
Coloring, by its very nature, is mindful. The repetitive motion, like that of a rocking chair, elicits feelings of calm. The focus required by coloring helps shift the mind from random thoughts and worries into a more peaceful space of creativity. Coloring guides you to being aware of the present moment, the key tenant of mindfulness.
How to do coloring as a mindful activity?
Set the Intention
Like all mindful-based practices, begin this coloring activity with setting an intention. An intention is simply an objective or outcome you or your child would like to experience during and after this mindful activity. You might say to your child, “I see that you are worried about your math test. Would you like to take a coloring break?” When your child is finished coloring, ask how the activity made them feel. You can say something like, “Since you just found that coloring made you feel happier and more relaxed, let’s remember to try it again when you are feeling anxious or worried.” Remind them of the benefits they experienced coloring and tell them to add coloring into their toolbox of self-care practices. In time, they will remember and seek activities that are calming, even without adult prompting.
Let your Child Take the Lead
That means choosing what to color, what to color with (pencils, markers, etc.), and how long to color. This also means where to color: at the kitchen table, on the floor with their pet, or even outside under a tree. It’s important to let children take the lead and complete this activity in a way that is the most soothing to them.
Give Creative Choices
Parents often wonder which medium is best: crayons, markers, or colored pencils? Provide options, but leave the choice up to your child. While some children prefer crayons because of the seemingly endless array of colors, occupational therapists and early childhood educators often recommend colored pencils. This is because colored pencils can be sharpened to a nice point and accurately used in small spaces. The reason some children are more comfortable with crayons is because they’ve never been given the opportunity to use anything else.
Invite Other Senses
Parents love to avoid messes, but consider oil pastels and markers, too. Oil pastels might smear a bit more, but they offer a wonderful sensory experience as they are so smooth when they glide across the paper. Markers also offer a rainbow of colors and are sometimes scented. Coloring is already visual and tactile, so adding scented markers, if your child is okay with different smells, makes the experience olfactory too. If your child enjoys music, having a calming track playing in the background adds another sensory level to the experience. You might even find there is a certain song that you use every time your child colors. The song will remind the child of the other peaceful times they have had coloring, so when they hear their coloring music, they are ready to easily slip into their mindful coloring.
Interested in more mindful content designed to help your child ease into meditative practices? Try a Wee Meditate membership for free today and see how mindfulness can transform your child.
Want to try before you buy? You can preview our content for free here.