How to Develop Individuality in Kids

Let your child make up his own creative play-time.

Knowing how to help kids develop individuality helps them to have healthy self-esteem. Every child is an individual with his own personality, interests, preferences, approaches to situations and perspectives. However, internal conflict and external demands on your child can cause him to trade his individuality for what he thinks others want him to be. Protect your child's sense of self by providing an environment and activities that develops his individuality.

Create a low-stress environment to help your child feel confident in his individuality. Steve Baskins of the American Camp Association, writing for "Psychology Today" says you can do this by limiting planned activities and lessons and being open to what your child enjoys or wants to learn. He notes that while keeping to a schedule and being organized is important at times, it is also necessary to give your child room to discover his interests and talents.

Allow your child to express himself without limiting interests and activities by gender. Listen to your child's comments about gender-related activities without being critical or mocking him. For example if your son wants to learn how to cook or sew, encourage him to do so and point out men who are successful in these careers or hobbies.

Give your child positive living and historical role models in your family, community, country and culture, who have overcome restrictions due to gender, ethnicity religion and class. For example, teach your child about women who have succeeded as pilots, engineers or mathematicians.

Encourage your child to create his own play and let him daydream and think without filling up his time with toys, electronics and screens. Don't worry that your child will be bored if you don't give fill every moment with activities and toys. Instead of buying him a costume or props for a play, let him come up with ideas of his own to create them from things around the house.

Introduce your child to music, stories, clothing and foods from a wide range of cultures. Take him to culture and art shows to show him the diversity of people and places. Limit how much canned pop culture he gets from the TV and Internet.

Tip

Give your child more independence to help him develop and be confident in his individuality.

Warning

Some children may feel they need to conform and hide their individuality out of fear of being mocked or bullied by other children. If your child has low-self esteem or is being bullied, talk to him and try to get to the root of the problem. Talk to school officials about bullying, and seek professional help if necessary. Bullying can lead to depression.