Every year in the Spring, we begin talking about a very important word: Advocate. While we use this word in conversation all year with the students, in March we take time to dive into what it means to advocate. This week, we are talking about what it means to advocate for yourself (or a friend), and next week we will talk about advocating for important ideas.
Because this is a new word and a new idea, many students are still wrapping their heads around what it means to advocate versus to be nice to others. Take time to talk to your child about how they can (or already do!) advocate for themselves at home (asking for more food at dinner, asking a sibling to share a toy, etc) and to point out how you advocate for yourself as an adult.
Here are a few ideas (from this website) to help encourage children advocating for themselves:
5 Ways to Begin Building Self-Advocacy Skills with Young Children
- Have kids order for themselves at restaurants.
- Have kids make eye contact when talking to adults they know outside the family.
- If a problem arises that can be solved via email, have a young child dictate an email to you. Type it in their words.
- Help the child think through a problem by asking open-ended questions such as: What do you want to happen? What do you think you’ll do first? What do you think he’ll say?
- Role play the negotiation with your child before they make their official attempt.
Here is another website that explains why it's self-advocacy is a crucial skill to teach children.