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The Tree of Me

It can be hard for kids to understand what their strengths are. When you ask them what is good about them they will usually say "I'm nice" or "I'm good at soccer". These are good, but we want kids to understand that there so many great things that make them who they are. That's how "the Tree of Me" came about.

Draw a bare tree. Make sure you draw the roots too.

Talk about how our roots are our supports. These are the people who love us and that we can go to for help. Usually this will be family and teachers, but make sure you ask the child who they think their supports are. Talk about how these people help us. How when we go to them for help they will give us what we need. It can be advice, a hug and safety.

Next we need to identify their strengths. Try to focus on their character traits not their achievements yet. Draw them on the leaves. They can be things like, kind, try new things, never give up. If a child says "I play games" you could reframe this as "so you are fun?" "Are you a good friend?"

Now you can write on their achievements. These are the fruit of their strengths. That's why I like to do them as apples. You can look at their strengths to work out their achievements. The strength "I keep trying" would result in the fruit "I ride my bike well".

Writing this out is a good start. Having it drawn visually is helpful for kids to see just how many strengths and achievements they have. However doing this in one session can be difficult. It is hard to come up with everything on the spot. It can help for the child to ask family and friends what they like about them. Kids often don't realise that other people see positive things in them. By asking others it also helps the child truly believe that they have these qualities.

If possible it can be good to draw a big tree to put on their bedroom door. Make sure you have extra leaves and apples so that when you think of more you can add the. Or if a child has been working hard to achieve something, you can acknowledge this by adding it to the tree. In this way the tree is growing with them.

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