Awareness and understanding of oneself is not just kindergarten readiness; it’s a life-long process. Kids seem to be all about “ME” but there are ways that we can help children develop positive and healthy self-smart or me-smart skills (one of the 8 multiple intelligences).
- Read books and share stories. Franklin was aware that he was afraid of the dark. Scaredy Squirrel likes to stay in his very own space. Talk with your child about when s/he feels scared.Winnie the Pooh knows that he loves honey. Ask your child about what s/he likes and doesn’t like.
Balance times when your child plays alone with times to play with others. Children who are me-smart are often independent and do not mind playing by themselves. They may need encouragement to interact with others.
Display your child’s art work on the fridge or a window in the kitchen. If possible, mail a few to grandparents or cousins.
Have some dress-up clothes so your child can explore different ‘selfs’.
- Encourage self-reliance such as getting dressed with only minimal help, tucking pajamas away, washing hands.
Using “I” messages is both a me-smart and people-smart strategy. Instead of saying “Don’t grab my toy” an “I” message might be “I don’t like when you take my toy.” The words “I don’t like when you sit in my spot,” are more effective than “You’re making me mad.” Learning how to resolve conflicts is such a big learning challenge for young children. Adult support is really needed to help kids feel confident enough to share their feelings and negotiate with others.
Formula Mom on her blog says “Those with a strength in the intrapersonal intelligence are almost the opposite of those with interpersonal intelligence.” That is, they may be very independent and self-contained. Those who have a challenge in this area may follow what others like and do rather than exploring their own interests. Each child has both strengths and challenges. Developing self-smart or me-smart helps for kindergarten readiness and beyond. How will you encourage your child to be self-smarter?