Practical Suggestions for how to Learn and Grow

For parents:

Many families have indicated a desire to help their children develop the ability to steer their own lives in directions that are meaningful and satisfying to them. As with all growth, reaching this goal involves continuously building and refining their skills in areas which will help them become independent and feel in charge of their own lives.

These skills develop over time as your child interacts with others and participates in social and educational activities, but you can also help your child develop the skills through practice. Below are some of the key skills your child should develop over time to learn to cope effectively.

Key skills:

  • Make choices: Being able to choose a preference when two or more options are available

  • Make decisions: Being able to consider possible solutions and select the one that best meets your own needs while also considering how it affects others

  • Solve problems: Being able to find solutions for challenging situations

  • Set and attain goals: Deciding on a goal and developing a plan to reach it

  • Advocate for themselves: Knowing and standing up for one’s rights and communicating assertively

  • Manage and assess own behavior: Being able to evaluate your own actions and drive your own learning

  • Recognize own strengths, limitations and abilities: Identifying your own preferences, interests and abilities and using this to experience success

In this section, we list some activities you can do with your child to begin practicing these skills. When you have done them, you can make up other exercises yourself to help your child develop the skills. 

For children

Here are some fun activities you can try out with your family at home or with your friends at school. They can teach you about things like how to choose the things you like or what to do when you have a problem. If you do the activities with an adult, you can ask them to help you write down your thoughts.

Choose what you like:

  • Choose who you want to sit next to at dinner tonight
  • Choose what you will do first tomorrow – get dressed or have breakfast
  • Ask yourself: Do I like my choice?

Make a decision:

  • Decide who you will ask to play with tomorrow at school
  • Decide if you will eat more fruit or more candy next weekend
  • Ask yourself: Was that a good decision?

Solve a problem

  • Next time your friend is crying, think of a way to help them
  • Think of a problem you had or saw in the playground and make a drawing that shows an answer
  • Ask yourself: Did my answer work?

Make a plan:

  • Think of something you would really like to do
  • Make a plan for how you can do it
  • Ask yourself: What does it take for my plan to work?

Speak up for yourself

  • Think of a time when you or a friend were being teased
  • What did you or your friend do to stop it?
  • Ask yourself: What else could I, or my friend, have done?

How are you behaving?

  • Think about last time you made someone really happy
  • What was it you did to make them feel that way?
  • Ask yourself: What can I do to make people happy more of the time?

What are you good at?

  • Make a list of things you are good at
  • When do you feel that you are good at these things?
  • Ask yourself: What other things would I like to be good at?

Download a copy of these suggestions