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You might make copies of this page and set them out in a place with crayons and colored pencils, where children and parents can work together.

During and after a traumatic experience, our brains may be “hijacked” by fear, anxiety, or anger. Doing a nonverbal activity such as coloring or a jigsaw puzzle together can help us reconnect and get “unstuck.”

This coloring page can help adults communicate important ideas to children without saying a word: We can relax together. We can have a good time together. We can concentrate. I am here with you. I am listening. I am interested in you. We can share feelings. We can make something beautiful, even when the world around us feels ugly.

Children can use crayons or markers. Colored pencils or thin-tipped markers work well for the detailed “adult” areas, but crayons will work too! Here are some other tips:

  • If possible, parents and children should sit side by side in a quiet space with a surface.
  • Children color the large image, adults color the more detailed background.
  • There’s no right or wrong way to color; the goal is to sit and relax together. It’s okay to sit without talking, too!
  • Parents can use the tips and conversation starters at the bottom on the page and, if possible, display their work.
  • Children might also draw on the back of the page. Creative self-expression can be a great way to show how you feel, using no words at all.