When I work with children, each child decorates a box around the theme: “What is my talent?” I also have them write down their skills on pieces of paper to put in the box. That way, they take home a tangible reminder of the talents and hobbies they have. Some write about their love of playing guitar or dancing. Others write about being good at chess or sports.
I’m Gonna Like Me: Letting of a Little Self-Esteem by Jamie Lee Curtis is a great book to pair with this activity for children ages 4-8.
The more a child knows their worth, the less they will be bothered by those who bully them. After all, why listen to a bully when you know what they say is not true?
Strong self-esteem, hobbies, and talents help children relax and feel confident during times they are bullied. Making these boxes with classmates also helps children to have a shared joyful experience together, which supports a safe social environment.
If you are interested in bringing the Respect Program to your community, please let me know. I have brought the program to schools, after-school programs, summer camps, and houses of worship. In addition to children’s lessons, I also offer anti-bullying workshops for adults where I share various research-based strategies and an overview of the impact bullying has on children.
A child in the Respect Program decorates a box and includes a note that says “I’m good at piano.”
There is a charming book I read in programs for children ages 4 – 8 called “I’m Gonna Like Me – Letting Off a Little Self-Esteem.” The book is filled with great illustrations by Laura Cornell and was written beautifully by Jamie Lee Curtis. I particularly like that the speaker loves herself not only for her talents, but also when she makes mistakes.
The book ends with a question: “I’m gonna like me, I already do, but enough about me, how about you?”
Giving a child a chance to speak up about their abilities, talents and things they enjoy doing is inspiring. I love seeing their faces light up when they share things that mean the world to them.
So many children, and adults, have been told they don’t matter. When we hear this message over and over again from others, we can start to believe it if we forget to value ourselves.
Remember, we are all enough and there are things each of us is passionate about that help us grow, contribute to the world in a positive way, and relieve our stress.
We all need to be reminded of the treasurers within each of us to thrive in this world. One activity I do with children around this issue is to ask them to write on a piece of paper what they love about themselves. Then they get a wooden box to decorate and I tell them to place the word in the treasure box to remember their amazing talent. Here is one child’s work from one of my classes:
Have a great day filled with creativity and high self-esteem!
I highly recommend Mem Fox’s book Whoever You Are (for children ages 4-8) and Walt Whitman’s volume of the Poetry for Young People Series (ages 9 – 12) to spark conversations around diversity.
Once we read one of these, or other books on diversity, children in The Respect Program create diversity sculptures. I provide children standard colors in model magic clay as well as four different colors of clay for skin tones. It is amazing to see what the children create. Here is a favorite if mine from a past program. I love how the child combined the red and white colors in the two figures outstretched arms.
What are other ways to start discussions on diversity, equity and inclusion with the children in your life?