How to Encourage Personal Development in Children


Children, like adults, feel the impact of stress. With increased self-awareness, effective coping mechanisms and motivation to improve themselves, kids are better equipped to manage the holistic effects of stress, especially through prevention. By introducing children to personal development techniques that involve the mind, body, heart and soul, parents, teachers and other care givers can educate kids with valuable life skills. Children look up to adults and educators for guidance and as role models for appropriate behavior. Learning holistic self-improvement methods can help you and your child increase confidence, personal power and self love.

Things You'll Need

  • Journal
  • Communicate with your child. Talking with children about a new project or activity before starting it can help them feel independent, like they are part of the process, and less forced to participate. Ask your child if he would like to learn fresh ways to think more positively, feel happier, make better choices, and trust his inner wisdom. Explain to him how personal development can help him reach his potential and live a more fulfilling life.

  • Introduce affirmations to your child. Positive statements or thoughts of intent, called affirmations, can easily be taught by reminding kids to focus on the present moment and engage in healthy self talk. Encourage your child to use a journal or notepad to create affirmations beginning with "I am..." or "I have..." and ending with a healthy, desirable description. For example, "I am strong, confident, healthy and loving." Repeating affirmations throughout the day makes them more effective.

  • Explain to children the power of choice. Kids may not always realize they have options with their reactive or baseline feelings. Children sometimes migrate toward emotions that revolve around tantrums, drama or anxiety. Suggest to your child the possibility of responding in a manner that promotes overall wellness, inner peace and personal rewards, not punishments. Teach him self responsibility, not victim consciousness, by teaching him to ask himself, "Is this the choice I want to make? What would be better?"

  • Reinforce balance and moderation to maintain physical health. While pushing a child too far in sports or extracurricular activities can add stress to the entire family, lack of exercise or outdoor play can also be detrimental. A balance of healthy nutrition, rest and rejuvenation, and age-appropriate physical activity is essential to helping your child grow in mind, body and spirit. Support her natural talents and interests by respecting her preferences.

  • Incorporate a spiritual practice into daily routine. Spirituality may not always be a priority, but it remains a viable component in personal development for children and adults. Young and older kids can add a spiritual element through guided meditations, prayer, church participation, journaling or yoga. Techniques like these can quiet the mind, allow the higher self to be heard and offer gentle, intuitive guidance. Community involvement through volunteering, donations or cleanup initiatives can also increase esteem, respect for the environment and enhance interpersonal bonds.

Tips & Warnings

  • Role-model good behavior for your child: Say nice things about yourself and others, choose happiness, eat healthily and exercise, and incorporate spirituality daily. Allow your child to explore what feels right for him on his personal path. Include your child in empowering, holistic activities, such as listening to a positive CD or being of service to others. Remind your child that her self-development journey is sacred, personal and should only be shared with supportive, trustworthy friends, family and teachers. Listen to your child actively when she shares stories about her progress, and be available if she needs guidance or direction.
  • Children and adults must be willing and ready to make changes if they wish to progress on a personal development journey. If your child is not expressing interest at this time and you are, then proceed with your own path and become an inspiration and example for her.


  • Photo Credit bboomerindenial/Morguefile
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