It’s important to build your child’s self-awareness skills in early in development. Kids with good Self-Awareness skills are better able to recognize the needs of others, understand how their behavior impacts those around them, and understand their own personal strengths and weaknesses.
By engaging in activities that work to bolster self-awareness, you can make sure your child understands the concepts of identity and self-expression before even entering the classroom environment.
Strategies to Help Build Your Child’s Self-Awareness Skills:
1.) Understand metacognition. Metacognition is the way a person thinks about their own thinking. Good metacognition skills come into play in nearly every aspect of life – especially in the classroom. After filling in an answer on a multiple choice test, your child should not just explain why he chose an answer, but describe the thought processes that led him to that answer. As a parent don’t just ask your child how his day went, but why he is feeling a particular way due to the day’s events.
2.) Examine feelings. As an extension of the metacognition idea, when your child is experiencing a more extreme emotion (anger, sadness, motivation, or happiness) ask him to analyze the nature of his feelings. Of course, it’s going to take your help. But it’s important to delve further into why he is feeling a certain way to help build your child’s self-awareness skills. What would provoke such an extreme reaction? Is it rational? Does it make sense to be so angry about a comment someone made? Why would that make your child angry? Establishing a strong line of communication is important, as it helps your child understand his own behaviors. So when you see your child come home from school with a big grin or grimace, ask him why he feels that way. Continue to prompt him to talk without being overbearing – which is a fine line – and could lead to a less overall communication. Let him know you won’t be angry or disappointed, as this type of communication is more exploratory and free form.
3.) Know your own strength. Self-Awareness is not only concerned with a person’s mental faculties. It’s also important for your child to know the limits of what he can accomplish physically. You don’t have to take risks to figure out these limits. Ask your child to perform a set number of push-ups, pull ups, or a distance to run. Did he complete the desired number? Did he come close? Understanding physical limits helps give your child a concrete idea of self-evaluation, and offers a simple way to understand the concept of strengths and weaknesses.
4.) Self-expression can be difficult — especially for a person who is not used to being revealing. Start your child early. Even if your child has a difficult time verbalizing how he feels, encourage him to use another medium to express himself. If he can play an instrument, ask your child to put his particular emotional state to music. If he is more visually inclined, ask him to make a drawing or take a picture that best describes the feeling. Then ask him to explain the creation, and why it evokes a particular emotion or idea. Once he becomes comfortable doing this, remove the medium, and ask him to express himself to you verbally. Again, it takes a strong line of supportive communication for your child to feel comfortable doing this.
5.) Add Color. Give your child a set a crayons and blank page – or if he prefers, a coloring book. Be sure to instruct him not to choose colors whimsically. Rather, encourage him to play an active mental role in color choice. After he has finished drawing or coloring, ask him why he picked certain colors. Most likely you’ll receive a response that is based in practicality. You might be able to pick up on the way your child thinks simply by analyzing his color choice. Then explain what you think each selection meant to him, and ask if he feels otherwise. It’s true that many self-awareness activities lend themselves to the arts, as people tend to be expressive, honest, and meticulous in their work. However you approach it, make sure to keep it fun,