Guest Author - Julie Renee Holland
Bonding Through Crafts
Your time is the most valuable thing you have. Using that time for fun with your child makes them feel important. Age-appropriate crafts are a great way to spend time together and increase your bond with your child. An older child who feels “too old” for cuddles will often gladly spend time working side-by-side with a parent assembling a model airplane or embellishing a pair of jeans.
Choose a craft that is appropriate for the age and interests of your child. Older children can choose a craft or art project that they are interested in. Allowing the child to be the leader during playtime makes them feel valued.
Preparing for a messy craft can help keep both you and your child more relaxed. Cover their clothing with an adult’s old t-shirt and use a drop cloth or old newspapers to protect the floor or table if needed. Use washable paints, water soluble glue, and other easy to clean craft materials.
Prepared craft kits such as those available from HearthSong are a great time saver. Keep a few kits on hand so you are ready to start a project when you have a free hour instead of waiting for a special occasion. A storage bin or cabinet with odds and ends such as yarn, glitter, popsicle sticks, pretty paper, old greeting cards, child safe scissors, glue and paints can make impromptu projects easy and inexpensive.
Setting aside time for crafts together as a family on a regular basis can also increase talking time. Turn off the TV and focus on what you are doing. Don’t get hung up on creating a perfect piece of art. Recalling the projects that go awry will bring shared laughter through the years.
Showcase your child’s art so they can share it with visiting friends and family. In addition to refrigerator drawings, you can use inexpensive frames to showcase their art in the living room or at your office. Hang finished models or fabric creations to create a mobile. Use drawings as wrapping paper for grandparents. They’ll feel good about their abilities when they can share them with others.
Teaching your child to enjoy working with their hands now can pay big rewards as they grow into adulthood. Studies show that people who knit or regularly participate in other calming art activities are healthier and more relaxed.