Parenting Connection: Teaching children how to be their own self-advocate

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It’s Parenting Connection Tuesday and 6 News is here for you with tips, strategies, and helpful reminders from local child development experts on how we can be better parents and guardians.
Today’s topic: Teaching children how to be their own self-advocate.

This Friday is Valentine’s Day — a time set-aside to show others love and appreciation, but it may also be a perfect time to help parents make sure their kids love themselves enough to speak up and be their own self-advocate. Child development experts with Michigan State University say, in order to truly prepare children on how to deal with every day dilemmas, they must learn skills for self-advocacy. Early childhood development expert Kendra Moyses says, it’s an important quality parents should start laying the groundwork for early on in their kids’ life.

“This means giving children the opportunity to use their voice to either express things that they like, that they are uncomfortable with, and being able to stand up, take space, and say I’m here, I have a voice and here’s how I use it.”

Here are a few ways from child experts from the Michigan State University Extension that’ll help empower your kids to be their own best advocate.
*Give them ownership of problems. This means resisting the urge to jump in and help when your kid comes across an issue.
*Give them ownership of their feelings. Experts say, it’s important kids have the ability to recognize and understand their emotions and then express those feelings in a constructive way.
*Nurture independence. Create opportunities for your kids to be independent. For example, have them order for themselves the next time you’re at a restaurant.
*Be a solid back-up. Your kids will get even more confidence when you support what they are standing up for.

Child experts say, when kids learn solid self-advocacy skills, the more independent the’ll become, plus, be able to properly handle issues that may arise when you’re not around.

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