“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
― Dr. Seuss, American Children’s Author
Almost all parents know their little ones better than anyone else. Parents know what their young children like, dislike, and can gently nudge them to become better versions of themselves. That is why, knowing your child is of utmost importance. However, as children grow up and start becoming independent, it becomes crucial that children know themselves too.
In this article, we will cover:
Knowing yourself offers multiple benefits to everyone, even little children. That is why, the World Health Organisation’s Department of Mental Health has recognised self-awareness as one of the basic life skills that is relevant across cultures. Here are three key benefits of self-awareness:
Self-awareness is a skill that can be learnt. Here is a seven-day challenge that will help you get your child started on the lifelong self- awareness journey.
Requirements: Thick Papers, Poster Colours Set, Cloth To Wipe Hands, Cellophane Tape
Parental Involvement: Average
Tips For Parents:
Instructions for the child:
Day 1: This is Me. Ask the child to look in the mirror and study their face and body for a couple of minutes. After that, ask the child to draw what the child sees in the mirror on the paper using fingers. Encourage the child to add details in the picture but do not comment on anything. It allows children to understand how they see themselves in a fun manner.
Day 2: Here are some important people in my life. Now that the child has done the self-portrait, you can move on to the people in the child’s life. This will help the child to actively think about everyone important to them. Parents can help the child think by creating three categories: family, school, and everyone else.
Day 3: This is the kind of person I am. Now that the child is used to the process of introspection, parents can introduce slightly challenging questions such as what kind of person you are. Allow the child to paint the child’s thoughts. If the child is finding it difficult to think about this, parents can give their example with evidence to help the child. For example: I think I am __ (quality here) because __ (explain the situation that demonstrates that quality). After the painting is complete, you can ask probing questions such as why do you think so, and could you tell me more about this, etc?
Day 4: This is my superpower. Everyone has something that they are great at. Ask your child to draw something that they are good at, or you could simply ask them to draw their superpower. Parents can remind them of different instances where they have demonstrated their strength. It can be something as simple as being tidy and keeping all toys in their places. This will remind them of all the nice qualities they have.
Day 5: Things that make me happy. Encourage the child to draw things that make them happy, be it reading, a special toy, dancing, or a favourite thing to eat. Parents can ask probing questions for this as well such as why does it make you happy. This will help children understand that there are multiple things that can make them happy and their happiness does not depend on any particular thing.
Day 6: This is how I feel today A. Recognising what one feels is an important part of self-awareness and is a little difficult to master. That is why, we will repeat this question. Encourage the child to draw what the child feels today. Ask them to use different colours for different emotions. Parents need to ask the child to walk them through the painting and explain it to them. It will make things clearer for the child as the child tries to verbalise his or her emotions.
Day 7: This is how I feel today B. The activity will be the same as the one mentioned on Day 6 with a simple addition of which part of the body feels that emotion such as happiness in the heart, fear in the head, etc. This will help them become more self-aware. Like almost all the activities, it is important to ask probing and clarifying questions.
These prompts are supposed to be fun for the child. Do not push the child too hard. It is okay to skip a couple of days or do one question for a week as per the child’s wish. Remember to validate feelings and create an emotion-friendly environment for the child. Take the challenge as a family, it will be more fun.
Are you up for this challenge? Do you think your child will learn something new through these activities? Do let us know in the comments below or drop a note at [email protected].
“Me-kha-la!” That happens at least once when she introduces herself to new people. She’s the only ‘Mekhala’ she knows, and she takes a bit of pride in that. She is a quintessential introvert. Mekhala loves tea but cannot make a good cup of tea and often ends up having coffee. She claims that she takes all adjectives as compliments unless specified otherwise. Mekhala is an organizational psychologist and psychometrician. She was a class teacher of 36 adorable girls for two years, grade 2 & 3, as a part of Teach For India Fellowship. And has worked as an independent consultant for a couple of years.
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