“WHEN I WAS A BABY, my first word was ‘cookie.’”
A child’s sense of having a life story doesn’t happen automatically as they enter adolescence. It starts to develop at early age, when adults consistently talk about memories and help children form them into a coherent story. “First you learned to walk, then run.” Research shows that in families where talking about events is an ongoing activity, children are more apt to have a stronger sense of self. Having practice discussing their life story also boosts cognitive and language skills.
These last weeks of school provide a vital opportunity for helping to enhance children’s sense of their own autobiography. Reminiscing as a family about the last year’s events and the child’s feelings about them helps them build on their life story, as well as a sense of accomplishment. “When you started school, you didn’t know anyone in your class.” Remembering how far they’ve come enhances children’s self-esteem and helps prepare them for the next steps in their journey.
Children can reflect on their experience in many ways: telling stories about what they’re proud of, creating artwork, or talking about their favorite memories while looking at photos. As children talk about the events they remember and share their likes and dislikes, parents can highlight their unique, positive qualities.