Children have to learn how to express themselves in order to succeed at truly discovering and developing their own identity, and feeling comfortable with themselves. Usually verbal communication jumps to mind when we think about expressing ourselves. But it’s equally important to teach our kids how to express themselves in other ways. Here are 5 different ways we can help children express themselves non-verbally.
1. Art. Give your kids frequent and varied opportunities make things using art supplies. Even if you’re not artistic, they might be! And even if they aren’t artistically talented, art is still a visual means of self-expression. We can sometimes express things through colors and drawings that we can’t express through words.
2. Style. Let your kids pick out their own clothes. Even if it’s polka dots with stripes or some other combination that you would do anything to avoid. This not only affirms and strengthens your child’s independence; it also gives them the opportunity to discover and eventually refine their own likes and tastes.
3. Choices. Give your child choices as much as possible. Let them choose their flavor of ice cream. Let them choose what to do for the day, or what sport to play or what book to read. All of these opportunities help them explore their options and express their own preferences, which reflect who they are.
4. Interaction with different age groups. Make sure your child regularly interacts with peers, younger children, and adults. Kids learn different things about themselves in each of these situations, and express themselves in different ways. The more opportunities they have to discover and express themselves in a variety of scenarios, the better!
5. Writing. Some children express themselves in writing better than they do orally. Writing allows some of us to delve deeper into ourselves, and better express/preserve the wonderful (or not so wonderful) thoughts and feelings that abide deep in our hearts. On a more pragmatic note, writing requires more reflection than talking, and requires us to be more logical, organized and accurate in the way we express ourselves. Either way, it will be helpful for your children. Encourage them to start a journal for their written reflections.