Celebrating your Child’s Strengths

Our partners at Washburn Center share how parents can celebrate and build upon their child's strengths through mindful shifts in their everyday responses and interactions.

Celebrate the inner goodness of your child to bring out their best

Parenting is an organic phenomenon. There’s no starter’s guide or how-to manual that can guide you through the unique and uncharted development of your child’s personality, character, and growth.

Yet, there is one element that can provide landmarks for the journey. And, as a parent, you are naturally wired to see them – your child’s strengths. 

Healing and nurturing power of building up a child

In America in particular, it’s more common to hear language that centers on problems: Why did you do that? What were you thinking? How did you make that mess?

A mindful shift in an adult’s response can nurture a child who values their unique abilities – rather than focusing on what makes them different from others. Simply put, words matter. When adults approach those situations with a strengths-based lens, it builds up the child’s perspective of self. 

  • It looks like you were trying to learn something. What is it?
  • I see that your brain was trying something new. What was it?
  • This looks like an experiment. What were you trying?
  • I see you were being an artist. What were you making?
  • I see you helping. Let’s do it together.

Heading into new fall and school year routines, find ways to highlight and harness what your child does well. Then, 

  • Keep it visible and bright 
  • Repeat it every morning and at bedtime
  • Add to their display of strengths and share stories of where you see them use it 

As the days unfold, you’ll nurture a child who believes in their unique superpowers and one with reserves for the hard moments and days.

Idea from a Twin Cities home:

 Stepping into spaces with other kids was often too much for 6-year-old Ben, who focusedPaper hearts with words of encouragement - Washburn Center on what he couldn’t do compared to other kids. After a series of challenging days, Ben’s mom heard of an idea from a neighbor: put notes around the house that focus on what he does well.

Building on that idea, she created 30 days of hearts and framed his bedroom door with his strengths. It started with one simple phrase – “What I love about you…”. Then, each morning, Ben would emerge from his sleep to find a new one. 

 

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