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3 Ways to Develop the Self

by Lori Sciame | November 15th, 2012 | Preschool

Preschoolers love everything about their bodies.  For instance, they enjoy making faces at themselves in the mirror just to see how many different expressions they can convey — sad,  happy, mad, goofy, and scared. They may also stare in amazement at their hands as soon as they realize how many different things fingers and thumbs can do!  This is also a time to develop motor skills, such as running, climbing, and jumping.  Take advantage of a child’s love of his or her body at this age to encourage a true sense of self.  Try one of the following fun activities and watch a personality develop!

Face Fun

A preschooler tends to be narcissistic, which means they think they are the center of the universe.  This fact makes it fun to encourage face exploration.  It’s easy to do.  Sit the child in front of a mirror  close enough so that the face reflects prominently. Begin this activity by discussing colors.  What color are his eyes?  Eyebrows?  Lips?  Skin?  Teeth? Then ask the child to think about shapes, including circles, squares, and ovals. Next, ask him what he likes best about his face and why.

Discussions such as these allow a child to not only learn about concepts she will need in school, she will also be able to find many reasons to love the unique person that she is.  I remember my daughter loved her eye teeth, as they looked like Dracula’s!  My other daughter loved her eyes, the color of a summer lake.  After a few more questions, I learned that one child loved to feel powerful, while the other child revered beauty.

Handy Hands

Hands are truly amazing.  I encourage parents of preschoolers to engage in hand dances.  By this I mean to use the hands as if they are dancing bodies.  Imagine it this way:  As a soothing symphony plays, hands sway and wave through the air in time with the music (much like Hula dancers in Hawaii do).  As the dramatic part of the song begins, the dance of the hands quickens, fingers flailing and wrists snapping back and forth.

Basically, teaching a child to use hands as instruments of expression will aid him or her in many ways, including public speaking and interpersonal relationships; however, if a child doesn’t want to do this activity, maybe it’s her personality to be less physically expressive.  It’s great fun to see what clues to the self hand dancing reveals.

Bounding Bodies

Preschoolers need to move.  They should exercise every day.  Encourage a child of this age to run races, to climb fences, to master the monkey bars — anything to promote physical skills. Some children will be naturally cautious, while others will tend to leap before they look.  Visit a play park with plenty of different types of equipment to see a child become more courageous, more sure of himself.  Remember, a child who remains confident in her body will develop a stronger sense of self-confidence.

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