Dealing with grief during the holidays is always a tough issue. When it comes to grieving children, it can often be an overwhelming task for the adult to know how to help. Children, especially younger children, simply may not have the coping skills that age and maturity bring; to know how to express their emotions in a way that is healing and helpful.
One way that adults can guide the grief journey of a child is by encouraging them to participate in grief activities, such as the one we will show today. Here are a few reasons arts and crafts can help promote the healing process.
1. Arts and crafts provide safety for grieving children to communicate. Children may fear what others, particularly their peers, think of them, their thoughts, and their feelings. Children commonly feel greater safety from judgment when expressing themselves in an artistic manner rather than verbally.
2. Arts and crafts help children express their thoughts on abstract ideas. Children’s thoughts concerning abstract subjects, such as the afterlife or the distant future, may be difficult for them to explain verbally. Children can begin to concretely express their thoughts about abstract ideas, and how these thoughts apply to their grief, as they create their artwork.
3. Arts and crafts allow grieving children to release their emotions. A lump of clay, a blank canvas, or a fresh sheet of drawing paper provides children an open, creative landscape. Arts and crafts allow grieving children to release their emotions and funnel them into the artwork that they create.
Memorial Ornament Craft
Now it’s time to talk about what you need for the memorial ornament craft. This grief activity can be done with all ages, even adults, and it’s super easy to prepare! You can even coordinate the colors of the ribbon with décor you have! Get creative and make the most out of this activity.
• Clear ornaments of any shape or size • Multiple colors and types of ribbon • Shiny Ribbon or glittery beads • Paper or Masking tape for labeling emotions
Let’s Get Crafty!
Once you’ve got all your supplies, you can start by cutting your ribbon into 4-6 inch strips (no need to be exact). Remember to keep them gathered together by color!
When you are ready to do the craft with your children or family (remember, this can be great for adults too!), bring everyone together. You can start by talking about the holiday that’s coming up and what that may mean for the family now and the activity that you are going to do to help remember the person that passed away. You may even consider getting a mini Christmas tree for the kids to decorate with these ornaments and others they make.
Begin by talking about the feelings that come up when they think about their loved one. Depending on how old they are, they may need some help. Write down the emotions on little pieces of paper or on masking tape and have everyone help decide which ribbon goes with each emotion. There really is no limit to the amount of emotions and ribbons you can use.
Have a shiny ribbon or glittery beads as an option we well. These can be labeled as memories. We’ll talk a little bit more about these in a minute.
Once you have all the emotions laid out with the ribbons, fill your ornaments! Talk about the emotions that the kids are filling their ornaments with and why they feel them. You may be surprised by the things that come up.
Have the kids talk about memories they have with their loved one as they add the shiny or glittery “memories” items to the ornament.
Once the ornaments are complete, hang them on the special kid’s tree, in a window or anywhere you like! You can keep these special memorial ornaments for years to come as a remembrance of your lost loved one.
Be sure to share with us how the grief craft goes once you’ve done it! We would love to hear how the craft came out and to see any pictures you take. Happy holidays!