Self-Identity in Preschoolers
Preschool aged children are readily becoming more aware of their own characteristics—gender, skin and hair color, family composition, etc. Whether children feel positively or negatively about themselves is shaped greatly in these young years by how these characteristics are valued by others, beginning with family members and school peers and the trusting relationships (or lack thereof) formed.
You can support a healthy self-identity in your child by…
1. Being present with your child. By present, I mean mentally present. The time we spend with our little ones is precious. Your focused attention lets them know that you value them as individuals and are interested in what matters to them.
2. Showing respect. It is import not to talk “about” children in front of them as though they were not there. Even when discussing issues with a teacher it is best to take the time to step out of the classroom or schedule a meeting at a time of the day you can meet alone. Children deserve to be treated with respect and to be included in conversations about themselves when they are present.
3. Address diversity and differences positively. God made us all unique, and preschoolers are very well aware of that! Answer their questions in straightforward and conversational manner in the same way you would address their questions about anything else.
4. Share books, stories, and songs that are non-stereotyped. Children learn so much from songs and stories, providing them with ones that show people with different attributes and backgrounds feeling good about themselves has a major effect on the way they view this in the world.