Call it personality, individuality, or identity, but no matter how you refer to it, encourage it in kids each and every day!!
We have the opportunity as parents, teachers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or other influencers to help children build their own unique personalities. We have the chance to help them unfold into the unique individuals that they are. Allowing children to use their own voice and be comfortable with their creative ideas helps with confidence and social acceptance. In turn, building self-acceptance and confidence can help reduce the chances of future emotional/mental illnesses due to comparison, self-doubt or other negative self-image concerns.
Encouraging individuality is a great way to build confidence!
Below are several ideas you can use to help encourage kids to use their own ideas in everyday life.
1. When you are going to movies, dinner, or other fun activities. Let them choose. Be sure whatever they choose you fully stand behind (whether you like the idea or not). If you let them choose what to do then tell them four reasons why that isn’t a good idea, they could quickly doubt themselves.
2. Ask the question as early and often as possible, “What do you think”? This is one of my personal favorites, and it’s not just for kids. If you have employees or others in your life, ask the question! By allowing others to share their opinion first whenever possible it will help show your trust. This also helps to make sure they will share their thoughts. I’ve often found if I share first others are resistant to share even when their ideas could offer a better outcome. This could come from any number of reasons. Allowing kids to share first will help them to use their creative and not just build off yours.
3. Let them get involved in household activities. Keep in mind when you are having them help, allow them to do it their way as much as possible. There are a lot of right ways to do anything. If you encourage them to do it their way, they will have less potential of needing assurance in the future for the “right way” to do things.
Cooking: cleaning fruits and vegetables, cutting vegetables with cut safe knives or even light stirring on the stove-top for the older kids are all great ways to get them included
Taking out the garbage
4. Let them show you how they do it with personal care such as
Picking out their own cloths
5. Encourage creativity. This one has always been a big one for me. When your kids are coloring,
drawing, or doing any other creative projects reinforce how well they have done. Often in life people can be quick to criticize or share how they would have done something differently. Every time we do this with children, they have the possibility of second guessing the way they did it as wrong or not good enough. By, supporting the creative work they have done they will have more confidence in using their imagination for future.
6. If you catch yourself saying, “that’s not he right way” quickly ask, can it be done this other way. There are any number of ways to do any certain thing. And, there are a number of ways to get to the right answer in most things. Just because it is not your way doesn’t make it the wrong way.