Sick and needy children benefit from Relief Share donation to hospital.By
The Many Benefits of Art for Children
-this article was contributed by Evelyn Greening.
Relief Share volunteers recently sent a plethora of books, coloring books and crayons to a hospital emergency room in Houston, with the aim of keeping children entertained and helping them feel as good as possible during their hospital stay. Every toy, resource and type of materials lends its own brand of magic to children and heals the soul in a very particular way. In this post, we focus on the plentiful benefits of art for children, whether they are simply talking about artwork in books, creating their own little masterpieces or coloring in the lively illustrations in a book. In many ways, art is much more than a distraction; it is a form of therapy.
One of the reasons art is thought to help with depression is that enables those suffering from this condition to distance themselves from their problems and to see that there are many ways of expressing to the same thing, or indeed, reacting to the same event, situation or person. This lends a note of positivity to their lives, since they often come to see that life offers many choices, each of which has the potential to lead to happiness.
- Art helps patients deal with pain: A recent study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine Journal found that cancer patients who took part in creative arts therapy showed moderate-to-great improvement in dealing with pain and in quality of life, and modest improvement in dealing with anxiety and depression. It is no wonder that art therapy is a popular choice in everywhere from centers for those suffering from Alzheimer’s, to rehabilitation clinics for those who are trying to rid themselves of an addiction to alcohol or harmful substances. One of the biggest challenges for hospital and rehabilitation patients alike, is pain and anxiety. The recently published study showed that the arts can play an important role even in standard hospital settings, and reduce or eliminate the need for pain or anxiety medication, thereby increasing a patient’s sense of autonomy and banishing the sense of vulnerability or dependence that so often accompanies a hospital or rehabilitation stay.
- Art helps children express their emotions: Children who are undergoing Post traumatic Stress Disorder, or who are grieving, can find it difficult to express their feelings or describe unpleasant or painful events. Art can be a vehicle for children to express their views, and connect with hospital staff or carers. Sculpture, for instance, is an excellent way for children to use touch to express feeling, and to create symbols they be unable to express with words.
- Art increases a child’s self-confidence: Children who lack self-confidence can see themselves in a new light through art; since there are so many genres and means of expression, that special moment when a child finds one art form they feel connected to or talented at, can be a defining moment in their lives. Artwork can also help children discover a new talent they were unaware they possessed.
- Art fosters social interaction: Children who are shy can find an excellent opportunity to socialize with other children in a non-threatening environment. Their nurses, carers or parents may suggest that children work on a mutual drawing or mind map together, or create a collage focused on a particular theme. Children who normally keep quiet in a classroom or typical social setting will find an excellent chance to assert themselves and exercise their power of choice. Others will find that they can use a common project to exercise leadership skills for the first time in their lives.
- Art provides a sense of continuity: For many children who are seriously ill, the fear of being forgotten or of leaving no lasting legacy behind, can be overwhelming. Creating a beautiful work of art, through photography, illustration painting or sculpture, helps them create something that is eternal and immensely personal all at once.
- Art introduces children to new cultures: Children can learn about exciting traditions from all around the world, by recreating or reinterpreting traditional artistic symbols. Art classes are also an excellent manner for kids to learn about the great Masters – their incredible life stories and the important legacies they have left behind.
- Art helps the mind reach its full potential: Most school skills are focused on stimulating the left side of the brain (which involves cognitive skills). Art exercises the right side of the brain, enabling children to enjoy a more balanced education.