5 steps for recognizing strengths in kids

All kids have strengths and challenges. It’s natural to focus on things that aren’t going well for your child and on skills that need improving. But it’s just as important to see your child’s strengths.

Knowing those strengths helps you build your child’s self-awareness and self-esteem. You can also use those strengths to work on challenging areas in ways that aren’t as frustrating. Following these steps can help you recognize your child’s strengths.

Consider different types of strengths.

Strengths can be large or small, visible or hidden. Use this checklist to help identify your child’s strong spots.

Follow your child’s interests.

Sometimes strengths come out as your child explores interests. Learn about ways to help your child pursue passions and discover new strengths. Keep in mind that exploring strengths can take some trial and error. Your child might not be good at something right away, and that’s OK. Having a “growth mindset” can help your child keep that in perspective.

Help your child identify strengths.

Try making a “strengths chain” with your child. It’s a cool activity that lets your child see strengths in a tangible way. Your child can also make an “accomplishments box.” It’s a fun way for kids to see what they’re doing well.

Talk about strengths.

Keeping an open and honest dialogue about strengths (and challenges) can help both you and your child see and appreciate abilities. Get tips for talking with your child.

Take note of your child’s strengths and successes.

Watch your child in action and take notes on the successes (big and small) you notice and the strengths that helped your child succeed. (It helps to observe challenges, too.) It’s a good way to be able to say, “Here’s what I saw. I think you did that really well.”


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