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Development of Self-Concept in Children

by Victoria Thompson

Developing self-concept is a continual process, filled with self-discovery. Children begin to establish self-concept in infancy and continue throughout childhood. A child learns his importance and his role in the environment. He begins to value himself when you nurture him and encourage him. Developing a positive self-concept builds confidence in the child, and provides him with tools necessary to succeed.

Develop Language Skills

The toddler learns to express himself with strong language stating his demands. He desires to exert his independence, but is not yet sure of his individuality, suggests Susan A. Miller, Ed.D. of Scholastic.com. Patience is required, as the toddler improves his language skills. He may sometimes become frustrated, if he does not know how to express himself. Remain calm and consistent to model correct language usage. The older preschooler and kindergartener possess emerging language. He communicates his emotions by sharing verbally with others.

Free Play

When you give a child the opportunity to guide his own playtime and activities, he uses his imagination to direct his play. During this time, he can focus on a variety of activities, like in centers, to learn what he enjoys or what interests him. In a drama center, the child can play dress up and develop his unique personality.

External Messages

Children tend to see themselves as others see them. Messages are powerful children receive messages from parents, as well as from peers. Positive, loving parents who respond to situations calmly and provide encouragement, uplift a child's self-esteem, suggests Angela Oswalt, M.S.W. of the Betty Hardwick Center. This is also true of peers. A child who feels included and well liked also uplifts his self-image. A child who is constantly subjected to negativity begins to create self-doubt, which can form lasting consequences.

Cultural Identity

Help your child learn about himself through his cultural identity. This is an abstract concept that children understand better when they participate in traditional family activities. Explain the significance of holiday and family gatherings. Display photos of ancestors to help give meaning to your child's cultural identity. He will begin to view himself in a broader sense and value his cultural traditions, and will give him a sense of his roots.

About the Author

Based in North Carolina, Victoria Thompson has taught middle school for the past 15 years. She holds a Masters of Education in middle school instruction from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She teaches English daily to English as a second language students.

Photo Credits

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