This Family Crest Activity Is a Great Project for Uncertain Times

This Family Crest Activity Is a Great Project for Uncertain Times

A family crest is an important symbol of family history and identity. Children can think about their family histories and their own lives by making a family crest.  

What a whirlwind these last few days have been.  They have left us all a little (or a lot) discombobulated.  To be honest, my family and I are still getting our bearings.  However, there is an activity that I have been doing with the families I work with to get them oriented to this shift, and I would like to share it with all of you!

Drastic and immediate changes, especially ones without certain resolutions, can be unnerving and disorienting for children.  So, the first thing I try to instill with my clients is an overarching structure.  Since we all have a little extra family time on our hands, try this activity to bring a little structure to our new (and hopefully very temporary) normal.

Family Crest Activity

  • Gather your art supplies and create a family crest that represents your family.  You can use regular old crayons, colored pencils, etc.. as well as magazine clippings, photos, and whatever is uniquely “your family”.  The more the kids are involved and can take pride in it, the better.
  • If your family isn’t artistic, no worries, just write the name of your family at the top of the paper.
  • Then develop a list of traits, values, etc… that you want your family to live up to.  This concept can be a little tough for kids to understand so I often ask them “if someone is describing your family, what would you want them to say.  For example, the Withees are …. Kind! Respectful! Helpful!” or I will give them the opposite and joke with them… “would you want them to say, the Withees are RUDE!?!”
  • Once the list is created write it below or around the crest.  Then discuss examples of these behaviors with your kids.  What does it look like to be kind even when annoyed? What does it look like to be respectful even when restless? How can we be helpful during this time?

When things go south, and they will because this isn’t an easy time, refer back to the crest, remind the kids of the family values and try to talk it through with them. Address all behaviors and responses, including your own.  Our children learn a lot when we reevaluate our own behavior with them.  This is much more salient than just telling your kids to be respectful, kind, patient, etc… It reminds them that these values are greater than the moment, they are part of the whole family system and what makes your family your family.

One last thing… if you aren’t the “crest” type of family, then go with a team theme instead!

Abby Withee is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist practicing in Redondo Beach. With a focus on mindful practices, Abby works with children, adolescents, adults, and families to address a variety of diagnoses and presenting issues.  For more resources, check out her blog!

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South Bay Mommies and Daddies Crest Activity Pin