Through my work with children, I have created 5 tips for teaching originality and 7 tips for teaching poise to children which can be used both in the classroom and at home.

Tips for teaching children originality

Every child is a unique individual and they deserve to feel valued for their originality. It can be hard for children to express themselves, perhaps because of pressure from their peers or because they lack self-confidence.

1. Nurture their talents

Whether you notice your child doodling on paper or creating custom outfits for their dolls, encourage your child to pursue this talent and inform them of what great potential they have.

2. Give them positive role models

Teach your child about creative role models like Van Gogh and activists like Malala Yousufzai who went against the norm and acted with originality.

3. Encourage them to express themselves

Take your child to an inexpensive or thrift shop and allow them to pick out whatever outfit they choose. Whether they want to clash colors or dress head to toe in polka dots, make sure your child feels free and able to express themselves.

4. Stimulate their mind

Read with your child as much as possible and introduce them to multiple music genres from heavy rock to classical music. This will broaden your child’s horizons and inspire them to pursue and enjoy multiple forms of music, not just what they hear in the mainstream media.

5. Be a positive role model

Talk to your child about your own interests and hobbies. Explain to them how you found these hobbies and how you practice them now in your daily life, remind them that everyone has different interests and that is what makes the world such an interesting place to be in!

I hope the above tips will help your child blossom into the original individual they are!

Tips for teaching children poise

If you want your child to act with grace, respect, and gratitude, it is important you teach poise to your child. The dictionary defines poise as an ‘easy self-possessed assurance of manner’ and a ‘gracious tact in coping or handling’. For a child, acting with poise could mean acting compassionately and not fighting or arguing with their peers. Below I offer some top tips on how to teach poise to your child…

1. Discourage selfish behavior

If your child is arguing with another child over a toy, take the toy away from the situation and inform the children how their selfish behavior lost both of them their right to play with the toy. If in future you see your child acting selflessly, allowing another child to play on a swing before them for example, ensure you praise your child and let them know how happy they have made the other child.

2. Embrace other cultures

Acting with poise can refer to acting with respect and tolerance – invite someone with a different cultural background or lifestyle into your home, and ask them questions about their life. This will show your child that people who are different from them still deserve to be treated with respect.

3. Ensure your child shows gratitude

After every birthday and Christmas make sure your child sends thank you cards to anyone who has given them a gift. Remind your child about how lucky they are and that they are not entitled to gifts, they are a privilege. For other social events, like barbecues and picnics, ask your child to send thank you notes to those who attended, even if no presents were given and inform your child that you can be thankful for a person spending time with you regardless of material objects.

4. Throw a formal event

Take your child out to a meal in a restaurant or throw a ‘formal’ dinner party for just the two of you and remind your child to act in a poised and respectful manner. Even if you are just eating at home, dress in formal wear with your child and make the evening an event. This will allow you to see how your child acts in a formal environment and correct any bad behavior, such as resting their elbows on the table.

5. Teach your child to respect their belongings

If a child breaks a toy, do not simply throw it away or replace it, use it as a teaching opportunity. Repair the toy with your child and remind them how lucky they are to have toys and that toys need to be treated with care. For older children, this can be accomplished by teaching them to mend their clothes or shine their shoes.

6. Encourage your child to act calmly

When your child is upset or angry, ask them calmly what is wrong and try to work out a solution with your child. If they are throwing a tantrum, pay them as little attention as possible and then, once they have calmed down, discuss how they could have handled the situation differently.

7. Be a role model

Above all, act with poise in your own life. Be a role model for your child, someone who will inspire positive behavior and compel them to act with poise.