Updated: Sep 18, 2019
With a growing focus on the importance of incorporating social-emotional skills into lesson objectives, there’s more room for classroom activities that nurture the whole child.
One of the five core competencies of CASEL (Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning) is self-management, described as the ability to successfully regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in different situations. Included in self-management is knowing how to manage stress and alleviate anxiety—a skill worth teaching for the sake of the one in eight children who suffer from anxiety.
How do we help children develop coping skills for handling stress? One way is to provide the opportunity to practice stress-relieving activities in class AND encourage future use of the strategy independently. Coloring achieves both—it can be utilized in class and replicated independently as a resource in students’ go-to stress-management behaviors.
Here are 5 reasons to make time for coloring:
1. Coloring relieves anxiety
Activities, such as coloring, allow students to “zone out” by only focusing on what’s happening at that moment. By focusing exclusively on the task at hand, you are pushing other thoughts, fears and anxieties to the side which produces a calming effect.
2. Coloring gives kids a sense of accomplishment.
Students who may be intimidated by other work can feel confident in a process-oriented task that doesn’t have a right or wrong answer or specific goal. Finishing a coloring page can bolster self-esteem and self-efficacy.
3. Coloring can be used as a form of self-expression to communicate moods and feelings, especially when words fail.
Color and image choices can reflect moods in a mode that doesn’t require language skills beyond a child’s age
4. Coloring sheets can help with anchoring a sense of structure and the need and benefit of having boundaries.
As opposed to a free-draw, coloring sheets let students focus on a simple task that doesn’t overwhelm them with too many choices or concerns over artistic ability.
5. Coloring is simple and accessible.
Copy paper and crayons are all you need to share the practice of stress-relief with your students. Jumo Health has created coloring templates that can be easily printed and copied (you also may want to check out their anxiety discussion guide found here).
You can sign up for and receive free printable coloring pages here.