As Dr Suess once said: “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You”. But in a world of social media and peer pressure it can be difficult for all of us (even us grown ups!) to always remain true to who we are.
Children’s Mental Health Week have reported strong links between good mental health and authentic self-expression – so to be healthy and happy you got to Express Yourself!
We’ve come up with 5 actionable ways to encourage your children to celebrate their true self, and express themselves!
Identifying and discussing emotions can really help your kids gain some self-awareness into the way they are feeling and encourages healthy self-expression. Encourage them to think about why they are feeling that way – it will help them to realise the external factors that make them feel good or bad.
Download our free emoji chart to print out and stick to the fridge, and allow them to check-in with their emotions every day.
Provide opportunities for your kids to make their own decisions. This could be anything from what they want for dinner, what clothes they want to wear that day (even if you have to take them to the supermarket dressed as a unicorn!), a hairstyle, or what music they want to listen to. This will help them to feel confident with their own likes and preferences – what makes them, them!
Here’s a fun lockdown activity for you – encourage your child to make a ‘scrapbook’ of themselves. This can include who they are, their likes and dislikes, their strengths and interests….and so on. Let them have free reign over how they present this project. Perhaps it’s a scrapbook but maybe it’s a poster or even a video documentary. Maybe they will choose to stick in photographs or magazine cuttings, or draw/paint. This is all about THEM so encourage the freedom to get truly creative.
Encourage them to express themselves through movement! Perhaps they like to get creative through dance, or make interesting shapes in yoga poses, or let out pent up energy doing martial arts. Allowing your kids to move in a way that feels good for them is a win-win, not only will they be able to have a creative outlet to express who they are, but they will also be keeping fit and healthy in a way they enjoy!
Lead by example. Let your kids see you celebrate your own quirks and interests, likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses! Be silly, let loose, do the things that you enjoy, wear the clothes that make you feel good, have things in your house that express your personality… whatever it is, ensure you are allowing your children to see YOU being authentic.