MADISON, Wis. - From the moment they are born, children are developing at a rapid pace. As parents and caregivers, we love them, support them and try to give them the tools they need to grow both physically and mentally.
Some people have a strong urge to protect kids from any potential harm that might come their way. But the ultimate goal is to help them find themselves and become talented and healthy individuals of their own.
"It's impossible to spoil a newborn too much with love and attention," SSM Health child and family therapist Lynn Schemenauer said. "But as children grow older, it’s up to parents and caregivers to step back at times. From an early age, we should really be fostering self-awareness."
Self-awareness will benefit a child in many ways. First and foremost: it will bring happiness. Kids are happiest when they're able to be themselves. That's because they find value and worth in the world they live in. They can also have closer relationships and regulate their emotions more effectively.
So how can someone help children learn more about themselves? Schemenauer says to consider asking kids some of these questions:
- How are you different from, and similar to, your friends and classmates?
- What do you like most about yourself?
- Is there anything about you that you wished more people knew about you?
- What is something you’re proud of?
- What is something you wished you would have done differently?
- Tell me about a of couple things that cause you worry or stress.
- Share with me a goal you have for school, and a goal outside of school, that you have for the next year.
- Where are two places you’re really happy?
- Who do you like to talk to when you’re feeling sad, worried or mad?
- What are you most thankful for?
"These are not mandatory questions, but rather, better suited to start a conversation," Schemenauer said. "Talking about feelings and emotions is always a good thing. But remember, kids won’t always be looking for advice. Oftentimes, a listening ear as they learn more about themselves is enough."
We recently spent some time with students at Prairie View Middle School, part of @sunprairiek12. Their principal is one of our #BeYou ambassadors, and it's clear to see the kids are becoming more confident in being unique! 🌟💪✨ pic.twitter.com/A9nZJLbmq6— SSM Health Wisconsin (@ssmhealthwi) June 14, 2019
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