Can Mindful Colouring Help Calm Anxious Kids?

Bonnie Evie Gifford
By Bonnie Evie Gifford,
updated on Sep 28, 2017

Can Mindful Colouring Help Calm Anxious Kids?

Mindful colouring books for adults have held a steady place in the book charts internationally since taking off in 2014

Adult-oriented relaxation colouring books have been a runaway success, with titles including The Mindfulness Colouring Book: Anti-Stress Therapy for Busy People; Colour Me Calm; and Balance: Angie’s Extreme Stress Menders receiving positive reception across the board. The colouring craze has even spread to unexpected niches, with fan-favourite colouring books appearing for top series including Sherlock, Dr Who, and Game of Thrones. Colouring books have become more intricate and sophisticated, not only in design, but also in their intended purpose.

Research suggests that mindful colouring, as with meditation and art therapy, can provide numerous benefits for all ages. Along with providing a much-needed break and the chance to relax and refocus, it can:

  • Help lift your mood, decrease anxiety and stress
  • Encourage forming positive, relaxation-based coping mechanisms to help manage anxious thoughts and feelings
  • Distract from negative thoughts and interrupt a focus on worries about past or future events

Colouring can be a simple, straight-forward way to introduce children and teens to the benefits of mindfulness as part of their daily routines. Fun, cheap and accessible, the whole family can take part together or separately.

young girl colours on diningroom table

Mindfulness and mindful colouring can help children increase their awareness of the world around them and their place in it. By taking the time to carefully move from one pattern to the next, children can avoid getting lost in negative thoughts.

Color Psychology suggests that the simplicity of colouring can help kids to develop cognitively, psychologically, and creatively. Through regularly completing simple, low-stakes projects, children may find their self-esteem and confidence improves. By focusing on a simple, fun activity with a predictable outcome and few ways for things go wrong, anxious children are able to relax and live in the moment.

It is worth noting that mindful colouring isn’t a cure-all for anxiety. Some children may worry about choosing the wrong colour or colouring outside of the lines. However, experiencing these low-stakes, simple mistakes can help lessen anxiety over decision making or making mistakes.

Why not try mindful colouring together as a family, or suggest it as an alternative way to unwind after homework or before bedtime. It can be a great way to start conversations about what is worrying your child.

Together with Counselling Directory, we have created a series of free mindful colouring resources for you to download and use. Discover our full list of free anxiety activities and articles, find out more about mindfulness and how colouring can improve well-being, and check out our Worry Tree activity pack and anxiety colouring bookmarks for kids.

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