By Kristan Kostur and Susan Lurz, Founders of Proudtree Empowered Learning
Imagine a world where children feel free to be themselves; where they’re content and love who they are, where they feel like they belong and are accepted by others, and have the confidence to try to achieve their goals.
For many children this is a foreign concept. In today’s world, our children are faced with many demands and stresses which can leave them feeling alienated from their family and friends, confused by their developing emotions, and overwhelmed with feelings of inadequacy or self-doubt.
The good news is—there is hope. Because you are your child’s guiding influence, you can provide him or her with the necessary skills to confront and overcome difficult challenges. You can help your child lay an empowering foundation on which he or she can grow strong and succeed in school and beyond.
So how do you begin to lay this empowering foundation? The first step is to recognize everyday opportunities where you can take advantage of teachable empowering moments. And finding these moments are easier than you might think. At Proudtree Empowered Learning, we focus on 10 character-building themes essential for healthy social and emotional development. Below we address two of those themes and ways you can begin to incorporate them in everyday experiences.
Making Choices: When you give children opportunities to plan and make choices, you’ll begin to see them gain a sense of control and confidence. You can support your child’s choice-making skills by involving him or her in appropriate family decisions, or by teaching safe and healthy choices such as wearing a bike helmet or choosing healthy snack options, or by offering choices during daily routines such as asking, “Would you like to brush your teeth before or after taking a bath?” It’s important to limit the number of choices—the fewer the better, and to offer small, manageable choices based on your child’s ability.
Recognizing Emotions: Your child’s ability to understand and recognize emotions plays an important role in his or her overall development. Children benefit when adults help them make sense of their feelings and learn to communicate them in a safe and effective way. A fun way to explore recognizing emotions with children is by reading storybooks together and asking them to point out the different types of emotions they recognize in the characters. You can even ask them to imitate the characters’ facial expressions for the different emotions and name a time when they have felt that emotion.
These are just a few ways to incorporate essential character-building themes into everyday moments to help children develop a sense of purpose and value. And by simply creating these positive and nurturing learning opportunities, you impact how children come to view themselves as powerful!
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