Episode 35: Communicating & Connecting with our Kids through Expressive Arts – An Interview with Natalie Cruz

by | December 11, 2019

Episode 35: Communicating & Connecting with our Kids through Expressive Arts – An Interview with Natalie Cruz

by | December 11, 2019

Episode 35: Communicating & Connecting with our Kids through Expressive Arts – An Interview with Natalie Cruz

00:00 / 36:31

On today’s show, Wendy and Terry interview Natalie Cruz, who is a multi-media artist and Expressive Arts Therapist in San Diego, California. Natalie works with children, adults, families and groups. She provides individual sessions through her private practice, The Dancing Canvas, and offers a variety of community workshops, and is also available to help families online or over the phone.

Natalie has discovered how to use the arts as a tool & resource for expression, personal growth, and healing for all ages. Over the past ten years, she has facilitated creative experiences with individuals facing depression, anxiety, divorce, adoption, grieving the loss of loved ones, moving cities, living with physical or cognitive differences and people who are facing end-of-life.

On today’s episode, Wendy, Terry & Natalie dive into how to connect & communicate with our kids through expressive arts:

  1. Helping families connect through creative activities
    • 5 Types of Expressive Art:
      1. Visual Art: can be drawing, painting, sculpting, graphic arts (doodle art activity, etc.)
      2. Movement: dance (have a dance party, etc.)
      3. Music: singing, playing instruments (play DJ in the car, create a family playlist, etc.)
      4. Creative Writing/Poetry: (create a story or poem based on a word or topic; write letters to family members, etc.)
      5. Drama/Storytelling: (improv, body “sculpting”, etc.)
    • Allow the child to lead when it comes to the type of art, the supplies/mediums, the project, etc.
    • Art is about the process, not the finished product
    • Art shouldn’t be judged, but instead be allowed to evoke emotion, growth mindset, & resiliency
    • Art can be used as a metaphor for many life situations:
      • First, acknowledge that things didn’t go the way our child wanted & offer validation to create connection
      • Then, give options by reframing the problem as an opportunity to get creative & keep trying
      • Finally, brainstorm different solutions & ways to create something new
  2. Artful ways to cope with anger
    • 3 Steps to managing anger:
      1. Physical release of energy
      2. Self-Soothe
      3. Have a conversation afterwards in a calm, safe time
    • Expressive Art tools for a self-soothing bag: glitter jar, clay or bead creations, journal, watercolor set, feelings flash cards, sketch books, instrument and/or CDs to play or listen to music, a book
    • Parents are encouraged to model healthy ways to respond to anger instead of reacting in destructive ways
  3. Expressing grief in creative ways
    • The steps listed above can be applied to grief and other big emotions that children & their families experience
    • More on this in another episode to come!

Mentioned in this Episode:

Natalie Cruz of The Dancing Canvas

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Art Supplies & Products Mentioned in this episode:

Sculpey Clay
Paints & Markers

Drawing / Painting Paper
Stretchy Stress Relief Band
Big Sister Book
Letter Stella Wrote when She was Alone
calm down jar / shake up bottle
Bags for making calming bags

If you have a question, comment or a suggestion about today’s episode, or the podcast in general, send me an email at wendy@freshstartfamilyonline.com or connect with me over on Facebook @freshstartfamily & Instagram @freshstartwendy.



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