Preschoolers are beginning to develop their own understanding of themselves as unique individuals. This includes learning about the characteristics, skills, interests, and behaviors that they consider most important about themselves. In addition, they are starting to develop an understanding of how they are different or similar to other people. Your child’s developing sense of self is heavily influenced by the way that the adults they value and interact with them. When you provide an environment that is filled with acceptance and respect for others’ preferences, thoughts, and other characteristics, it helps your child develop a positive sense of self.
How you can support your child's development of this skill
- Encourage art activities to promote your child’s free expression. For example, activities like painting, drawing, singing, dancing, acting, etc.
- Use photos in your home to compare and discuss similarities and differences in “who we are.”
- Create activities at home where your child can communicate their likes, dislikes, or opinions. For example, allowing your child to taste different sauces or foods before dinner and asking their thoughts
Download our handout from University of Virginia's Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning for more on the development of these skills.