As a parent, you want your children to be themselves and become anything they want to be, even when other pressures get in the way. Helping children express themselves lets them achieve these goals and more. Self-expression comes in many different forms and is critical to all children’s growth and development. Creative expression can boost kids’ confidence and happiness levels, along with many other benefits. In this short guide, we will explain some of these advantages and give you some ideas for different ways to encourage your children to be their best selves.
Why Should Students Express Themselves?
Unfortunately, children today have no shortage of external influences that encourage them to conform and fit in — the opposite of expressing emotions. These can come from sources such as social media and peer pressure. However, always trying to fit in and please others can have long-lasting adverse effects on people’s sense of self. This kind of pressure leads to unhealthy patterns and the development of lower self-esteem. It can even cause unhappiness, depression, and other chronic issues.
However, when children learn to express their emotions successfully, they reap many crucial rewards for their emotional intelligence and development. Children who can express themselves more readily experience higher self-confidence and levels of happiness throughout life. Encouraging this also develops independent thinking, fosters creativity, and encourages children to stand up for themselves in the face of adversity, which can help keep kids safe and protected.
When Should You Start Encouraging Your Child to Express Themselves?
It’s never too early to encourage a child to express themselves. A baby’s cry is one of the very first examples of self-expression. As babies develop into toddlers and young children, they learn more ways to show their emotions — both positive and negative ones. It’s vital to validate all your child’s feelings and allow them to feel comfortable expressing their emotions and feelings at any age.
6 Tips for Helping Children Express Feelings
As an educator or parent, you can help your child learn to express themselves in many different ways, and the methods to accomplish this are probably more straightforward than you’d think. These six ideas are ways you can help foster self-expression in your child.
- Support children in the arts: Creative arts can be very therapeutic for people of all ages, including children, and can make it easier for kids to express themselves differently. The arts let children explore an emotion or narrative without even saying a word. Participating in the arts has proven benefits for mental, physical, and emotional health and development. Tastes can differ, so allow your child to explore various media like drawing and painting, crafts, sculpture, and even dance, music, or theater. Encourage your children as they express themselves through their chosen creative arts.
- Encourage children to develop a style: Self-expression can come from clothing and accessories, even at a young age. It may be tempting to pick out your child’s clothing for them, but providing freedom of choice lets them express their tastes. Beyond clothing, children can also express themselves through choices in backpacks, school supplies, room decor, hairstyles, and other accessories. Allow them to choose their favorite colors, patterns, and characters to build self-confidence.
- Explore interests: Instead of directing everything your child does, let them explore various preferences. Tune in to what your child is most interested in at the time, and encourage it with resources like books and classes. Allow your child to choose which summer camps to attend and inspire their hobbies at home with books and supplies that help them explore their interests — whether those are bugs, dinosaurs, cars, arts, dressing up, or anything else they think of!
- Give children choices: Helping children express emotions can be as straightforward as giving them more choices. The choices can be age-appropriate, and as the parent, you’re still in control. But allowing your child to select between two lunch options or where to go for an afternoon outing gives them some autonomy and encourages them to have unique interests and tastes.
- Talk about feelings: It’s essential to teach your child to talk openly about their emotions. Identifying their feelings and conveying them appropriately is a skill for growth, development, and successful communication. Helping your child understand their emotions and why they feel the way they do can make sense of confusing emotions and express how they truly feel.
- Encourage dramatic play: Pretending and other types of creative play give children the opportunity for imagination and expression. This type of play is as valuable as work for children, and it enables them to dream up various scenarios and explore their imagination. Allow for plenty of imaginative playtime and encourage your children to explore all their emotions, ideas, and dreams through dramatic and creative play.
What to Know About CCA’s Family Resources
At Commonwealth Charter Academy, we are proud to offer many non-academic resources for our families through our Family Services Department. Through our resources, including family service centers, family involvement coordinators, and family mentors, we can help foster connections and provide you with the resources you need for your family. We can help your family transition to cyber schooling, or assist with other issues and questions you may have.
Take Advantage of Family Resources at Commonwealth Charter Academy
If you’re finding it challenging to motivate your child to express themselves and succeed in online school, the Family Services Department at CCA is here to help. Our student-centered learning and comprehensive student and family resources set us apart from other online schools. At CCA, we feel helping children express emotions is crucial to their development and academic success, and we have the resources available to guide you and your child. Contact us today to learn more about CCA’s family resources for online education. You can request more information with our easy online form.