A child’s outlook on life, knowledge, interpersonal skills, and much more contribute towards the development a of a balanced personality. Whilst this personality cannot be ‘taught’, it can be shaped significant by the environment in which a child grows.
This blog will outline the importance of personality development in children and key tips for parents/carers to encourage personality growth in their young ones.
What is personality and why is it important?
Personality refers to the combination of characteristics, qualities, patterns of thoughts and behaviours that form one’s character. Environmental factors, including parenting, education and cultural upbringing can also have an influence. Developing one’s personality is extremely important for children; it is what makes them unique and stand out. It can also be adapted. Personality continues to develop throughout adolescence, but a strong foundation can be set for this during early years. A child’s personality influences how they treat themselves and those around them, including siblings, preschool teachers and students.
When does personality develop in a child?
From ages three to five, children become more comfortable expressing themselves through words. This is evident in a study from The University of Washington published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology which found that children aged five were able to measure positive feelings about themselves by categorising "good" words (like fun and happy) and "bad" words (think: mad and mean) as "me" or "not me." This suggest a kids self-esteem develops at an unexpectedly young age.
Eight tips to harness personality development in children
- Encourage them to try new things: Such as a new sport or musical instrument. Being open to learning something new can stretch their emerging personalities as well as develop their interests.
- Do not compare: Comparing your child to others (e.g. siblings, peers) can send a message to the child that they are not good enough which can result in mimicking behaviour rather than developing their own personality.
- Lead by example: Demonstrating positive values and practices is extremely important as children model the behaviour of their parents. For example, saying hello to the shopkeeper, holding the door for others, thanking restaurant staff.
- Limit screen time: Studies have shown that too much screen time can have a negative impact on a child’s intellectual and social development. It is important to ensure your child spends time taking part in a range of activities that enables them to value their surroundings, including outdoor play.
- Recognise the importance of play: Play helps children develop both physically and emotionally. It also aids team work, settling conflicts and developing their imagination, e.g. through role play. Explore more benefits of play-based learning in our blog.
- Encourage decision making: This can be as simple as letting them decide which book to read before bed or what activity they would enjoy after preschool. Learning to make simple choices on a regular basis can help prepare children to make more difficult choices as they develop and reduce indecisiveness.
- Encourage emotional intelligence: Developing a strong sense of emotional intelligence can enable children to have a better understanding of the behaviours and emotions of themselves and the people around them.
- Teach your child to be self-aware: Helping your child to acknowledge their individual strengths and weaknesses can enable them to make better decisions suited to their personalities e.g. children with a better sense of rhythm may excel in auditory learning settings. Whilst it is important to give your child many opportunities to learn new skills and activities, it is helpful to explain to them that they may not be the best at every activity. The key is to foster a sense of happiness in trying and experiencing new activities.
Developing one’s personality is an ongoing process that is shaped by numerous factors. It is important for parents/carers to avoid attempting to shape children into becoming a particular kind of person. Instead, create a loving and supportive environment for them to grow and evolve. Additionally, parents/carers must acknowledge that every child is different, each with their own individual qualities and strengths. Celebrating differences is one of our core values here at White Lodge. At White Lodge, each child brings a special something that makes their class community complete. We look forward to learning from each other and growing together. Find out more by contacting us today.