Questions to Ask Yourself to Identify and Exemplify Your Child's Natural Gifts!
It's around this time of year parents are anticipating the arrival of their child's report card. How many times have we been guilty of getting the report card, and regardless of all the stellar scores, grades, and comments, our eyes immediately dart to the lowest grade? How often do we disregard the positive comments, only to hyper-focus on the "needs improvement in this area" type of comments? Due to overscheduling, societal pressures, work obligations, and social media (the comparison game!), we can forget to take a few minutes out of our hectic schedules to reflect and think about our child's strengths. As a result, they can be elusive to them and us! Teaching our kids to see their strengths amidst the areas of improvement highlights gives them a greater sense of who they are, allowing them to live more fulfilling lives with confidence in themselves.
Helping your student identify their strengths:
Gives them the green light to embrace AND move toward their superpowers.
Limits their tendency to only focus on their deficits.
Provides endless possibilities! The best leaders know their strengths AND how to use them.
Fortifies their meta-cognitive functions and sense of self.
Increases their confidence and resiliency to combat adversity.
Sometimes, parents may need help identifying their child's strengths rather than their deficiencies. In Play to Their Strengths, authors Analyn and Brandon Miller identify practical ways to help you notice your child's strengths and make the unconscious conscious. We've adapted them to apply to our community and will explain how you can too.
5 Questions to ask Yourself to Discover their Glow :
What does your child show extreme eagerness and excitement about? What are they passionately interested in or get excited about? Strong interests or passions that capture their attention are a good sign you're onto something.
Examples: My son can't get enough football–he watches every game and remembers every play. He checks sports game stats in his free time for fun!
When do you notice a shift in their energy? Does making others laugh or helping a friend seem to reinvigorate them? What activities or moments seem to give them energy rather than zap it? These activities have the ability to elevate their spirits despite being tired or moody moments before.
Example: They arrive home from school exhausted and emotionally drained. Suddenly, a friend visits, and they have a burst of energy! This is a sign of their love for entertaining and being around others.
When do they immerse themselves in an activity? What activities do they partake in where they enter a flow state and time flies without realizing it? Usually, this is an activity you can't pull them away from, even if hours have passed. Often these are hobbies.
Examples: They build their Lego set from start to finish in one sitting. Or they spend hours editing movie clips to upload to their Youtube channel. Discovering hobbies and activities they practice or play for hours offers a spotlight on areas they thoroughly enjoy.
Where are they curious? Curiosity is the love of learning, so what do they want to learn more about? These are usually topics or subjects they do a deep dive into independently or a skill they practice. They are intrinsically motivated to practice or learn how to do something rather than motivated by grades or work assigned to them.
Examples: When a child comes home after learning about one planet and wants to learn about all other planets and other bodies in space. They come home, watch related YouTube videos, and learn all sorts of neat facts! Or they learn to skateboard even when it doesn't come easily. A desire to learn more about a subject or skill can offer insight into their strengths.
What skills do they outshine others in or exude ease? Pay attention to what comes naturally to your child! Where do they naturally excel in comparison to others? They make it seem like they've taken private lessons or enrichment classes but actually have innate talent in these areas.
Examples: They're a top performer in a subject at school or are recognized for their excellence in art or writing. They may play a sport or an instrument, and it may seem like they've had private lessons, but they've picked it up naturally!
Ask yourself the questions above to learn more about your child…and yourself! And If you're interested in reading more, check out Analyn and Brandon Miller's book, Play to Their Strengths. Make sure to join our community of life-long learners by following our Instagram page @wethrivelearning!
Written by Jenny Aguilar (M. Ed., ET/P) and Geneva Walsh (M. Ed.)