Identifying your child’s innate gifts and talents is an important part of parenting. It gives you the opportunity to motivate, encourage, and build upon what they need to develop and grow. When trying to identify a child’s strength, there are two aspects to consider:
(1) their natural tendencies and
(2) their chosen hobbies – as these can often overlap.
When children are very young, you may have observed their every move and discovered what types of activities and toys they naturally gravitated to. And as they grow older, you begin to see their personalities form and their interests become more prominent.
The child’s chosen hobby will often be what sparks the child’s natural strengths.
Watching them can help us decide how we should support them and best meet their needs. It may provide them with an environment that feels safe and where these skills are valued. This is important because children need opportunities to practice using those strengths.
Kids who like baking might have exceptional fine motor skills and an eye for detail. Kids who are obsessed with tech gadgets might know how to code or troubleshoot better than anyone else in their class.
One other thing to do is pay attention to SMILES. When a child smiles and laughs, they are happy at that moment. Make a mental note of what your child is doing at that particular moment and encourage them to explore their interests further.
You never really know what your child is capable of until you take the time to observe. In order to make it a priority, get them involved in activities that best suit their natural interests.
Jessika Shields is a Licensed Educational Psychologist, Mom of Four, and Founder of Stronger Minds, Stronger Youth where she coaches concerned parents of children with mild learning difficulties to improve their child’s confidence so that their child is happier and more motivated to learn. She is also the host of the Parent Them Successful podcast, providing insights and resources to help parents regarding early intervention services.
Jessika has nearly 20 years of experience working with families in the K-12 school system and has helped hundreds of parents focus on strengths in order to support their child’s educational journey and overall well-being. She has packaged her experiences as a classroom teacher and school psychologist to serve parents at the highest level through her Building Child Confidence Through Strengths parent coaching program, where she uses her signature framework to help parents transform their child’s mindset from feeling like they’re not smart enough in school to feeling confident in their ability to succeed.
In addition, Jessika has authored several books and resources to support parents in applying growth mindset principles and strengths-based parenting techniques to everyday life, which can all be found at jessikashields.com.
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