Self-awareness is the ability to accurately identify emotions and the behaviors they can trigger, as well as accurately identifying personal strengths and weaknesses. As your child enters this late elementary age, they are more likely to be able to grasp the range of emotions they experience and what causes them.
The late elementary years are a time of great personal and social growth. As children grow older, they become better at making decisions, solving problems, and working in groups. Early adolescence begins around the age of 11, and this brings along its own challenges. As children’s bodies begin to change their emotions can seem to change at a moment’s notice. Developing your child’s social and emotional skills can help him manage his emotions and behavior and make responsible choices. The concepts highlighted in this section are based on the five sets of competencies developed by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL).
At ages eight and nine, your child may be able to distinguish how the same emotion can mean different things in different situations. For example, your child may be able to identify someone crying at a wedding as being very happy, while identifying a child crying after falling down at the park as being hurt.
Your third-grader should also be able to begin to understand their own strengths and challenges. For instance, if your child is developing acting or musical skills and decides to join the drama club or a school musical, even if their best friend plays soccer, they are showing he’s self-aware.
Keep in mind every child develops at his own pace, both physically and emotionally. If you have concerns about your child's development, please contact your health care provider or your child’s teacher or school counselor.
Learn more about how to support your child with our third-grade self-awareness tips page.
Parent Toolkit resources were developed by NBC News Learn with the help of subject-matter experts, including Maurice Elias, Director, Rutgers Social-Emotional and Character Development Lab; Jennifer Miller, Author, Confident Parents, Confident Kids; and Anne Morrison, Pre-Kindergarten Teacher, Lycée Français de New York.