Play can provide a great opportunity for children to improve self-awareness skills, helping them to develop a sense of themselves and others. Finding the best self-awareness activities depends upon the interests of each child, and in today’s digital world, will likely include the use of video games and apps. While some parents perceive games as anti-social behavior, causing teenagers to play isolated in their rooms, uncommunicative to the outside world, the data says otherwise, telling us that more than 65% of gamers play social games.
It is not uncommon for teenagers to leave their friends at school and later reunite with them on Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, or the Wii U’s Nintendo Network to play Black Ops 2 or another online games from the comfort of their own rooms. If you watch kids involved in this type of social gaming, you will notice that they have headsets on and are talking to each other. A great deal of interaction is included that is often planned in advance and can lead to further discussion when they return to school in the morning. At the same time, social media services such as Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr are increasingly becoming the province of teens and their primary way of communicating and understanding themselves and others.
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5 Fun Self-Awareness Activities:
1.) Play games that promote social activism or pro-social behavior. There is excellent research indicating that individuals who play pro-social games are more likely to engage in helpful behavior than those who play violent games. Many games that promote pro-social causes such as environmental awareness, charitable contributions, and concern for refugees and the victims of war (examples for each type of game) can improve social awareness.
2.) Ask your child to teach you how to play a selected game or app. Following the age-old attitude that teaching may be the best way to learn provides other activities to improve self-awareness skills. Ask your child to teach you how to play a game she particularly enjoys. Use this as an opportunity to have her develop appropriate listening and observational skills. Give her some instructions beforehand, such as informing her that you don’t know anything about the game or the controller and that she may need to think about you as if you were an alien from another planet.
3.) Play games that require collaboration and some communication. Games such as New Super Mario Bros U or Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate can also be used to improve social skills and relationships in youngsters who are reserved in group settings. Playing these types of video games with one’s friends needs somewhat less conversation but still requires cooperation and, at times, collaboration.
4.) Play family games in which taking turns, cooperation, and competition are expected. Any of the active, movement-based video games that use the PlayStation Move, Microsoft Kinect, and Nintendo Wii Motion Plus are great activities to improve self-awareness skills.
5.) Share your technology. When getting a new tablet, smartphone or other digital device, let your child figure out how to master it and have her help you learn how to use it. Ask her to load some of her favorite pictures of herself and other family members that she thinks you might like.