Inside: Identifying a child’s strengths is just as important as addressing their challenges. Some strengths may be more apparent than others. Encouraging a growth mindset can help improve executive functions and other strengths. Here are some child strength examples so you’re ready to answer that question.
As parents, our job is to teach and guide our little people into becoming adults. It’s our guide to see what they are doing incorrectly, view their weaknesses and help them grow.
And when we do that, sometimes we forget to highlight our child’s strengths and nurture them.
It’s perfectly normal to take for granted what your child does well! Parents and caregivers want to “fix” and teach things, so it’s normal to mostly focus on a child’s weaknesses and help them improve upon them. I have a separate article on a IEP strengths or student strengths for an IEP.
You know that your child has strengths, or your student has strengths. But sometimes, we need a little help to get our list of child strength examples.
Your Child’s Strengths
But occasionally, the school or a pediatrician of some sort may ask us the question, “what are your child’s strengths?” And you’re left scrambling for an answer. You know your child has strengths, but you cannot find any words right now.
It’s a great starting point, but maybe you need more details.
Communication, mathematics, management (for a kid?), creativity, writing, critical thinking, study skills, problem-solving, and reading.
Many of the examples of a child’s strength focus on school skills. And, since they spend a huge chunk of their time at school, with people who are paid to observe and record their skills, it’s normal. But maybe you’re looking for more.
Hopefully, I have covered all of these areas and categories.
If you look online, here are some child’s strengths examples.
Child Strengths and Weaknesses Examples
This concept comes up a lot.
However, I dislike the word weaknesses. Mind you, it’s a word I use in reference to myself all the time. I’m not comfortable using it with IEP students or children in general, and here’s why.
The dictionary definition of weakness is:
a quality or feature regarded as a disadvantage or fault; plural noun: weaknesses
I prefer the term “areas of need.” I believe, on a subconscious level, that we too often associate the term weakness with the term fault.
Fault has too much negativity attached to it. A disability is never one’s fault; it’s how they were born. A lacking skill set in a child is not a child’s fault. That skill may not be age appropriate, or no one taught them that skill yet.
If your child has “areas of need” or “growth opportunities,” and we all have these, you probably know that in your head and in your heart. And that’s where you will find a list of your child’s weaknesses.
Not some resource list you found on the internet.
And so, in the spirit of that, you will not find a list of child strengths and weaknesses examples here in this article.
Child’s Strength Examples
Here are some child’s strengths examples, not categorized.
- Outstanding memory in areas of interest
- willingness to forgive and give people second chances
- Persistent in reaching his desired outcome
- He has a strong desire for social connection and friendship
- He has an excellent memory and excels in completing tasks when given clear lists or flowcharts
- strong negotiating skills
- Is curious about the world around him/her
- Has a good sense of time, can plan
- Fun fashion sense as a means of expression
- Sensory/tactile learner, multi-sensory learner
- great at finding efficiencies
- able to recognize when work is truly necessary
- Eager to learn when refocused consistently
- When regulated M is a sweet considerate child
- Thinks out-of-the-box to find unconventional and creative solutions
- Generous and sharing
- exercises great emotional restraint when pushed to his limits
- Is empathetic toward the needs of others even if he cannot express
- Demonstrates an ability to learn
- Consistently processes information and responds, even though it is a delayed response
- ability to verbalize when he is upset or dysregulated
- may appear disinterested in class or not paying attention, but when questioned can regurgitate back the information that was just presented
- May be impulsive, but once regulated can usually identify the situation and trigger with great accuracy
- Can solve equations in his head, but may show frustration at having to show work
- enjoys sticking to a routine
- Can adapt to changes in daily schedule with proper warning and notification and explanation
- strong desire to do well and please others
- a happy, pleasant child when regulated
- is able to set realistic, achievable goals for herself
- Can follow 1/2/3 step directions
- Can follow directions when given clear, direct language
- Is able to and will ask for help when needed
- Can make a decision given 2/3/5 choices
- will interact appropriately with peers
- communicates appropriately to peers
- can initiate tasks/projects
- working memory has improved to where she can…….
- can listen intently without interrupting
- will raise a hand and wait patiently to be called on
- recognizes and respects the personal space of others
- can do 4/5/6 volleys in a 2-way conversation
- can verbalize when being teased/bullied and respond appropriately
- will accept unsolicited adult assistance/help without resistance
- good sense of balance and motor planning
- Learns material best when moving around, gross motor movement
- Likes to ride his/her bike, skateboard, and/or other self-powered personal vehicles
- good physical health
- physically strong
- athletic abilities (elaborate)
- Likes to exercise and will initiate independently
- good physical endurance
- Can follow instructions/rules for games such as (give examples)
- is a fair loser and winner
- Plays musical instruments (elaborate)
- participates in (community activity/sports) and elaborate
- Is aware and will be safe in the following setting (elaborate) and will respond appropriately
- Can care for the family pet (elaborate)
- Can act appropriately around a baby or younger child
- Enjoys working independently or in groups
- is persistent in carrying out assignments or activities
- Keeps a personal diary or journal
- Understands sarcasm, enjoys telling jokes
- Possesses a sense of personal responsibility
- Has strong opinions about controversial topics and is able to verbalize them
- Marches to the beat of a different drummer
- Handles stressful events well (e.g. is resilient)
- Has good character (e.g. honesty, integrity, fairness)
- Is able to plan for the future, describe future goals
- Displays good common sense and decision making
- Explains ideas or concepts well to others
- Asks relevant questions
- Has good listening skills, without interrupting
- Handles verbal feedback well
- Is able to effectively use non-verbal cues to communicate with others
- persuasive in getting someone to do something
- assertive skills without being pushy
- optimistic attitude
- can express how he/she is feeling
- Can easily pick up on the emotional state of another person
- Enjoys socializing with others
- Has at least one good friend
- polite and has good manners
- able to work out his/her own conflicts with others
- Volunteers his/her time
- friendly to others
- good at sharing with others
- good personal hygiene
- Trusts others without being naïve
- liked by his peers
- good organizational skills
- good study skills
- able to pay close attention to details
- good short-term and/or long-term memory
- able to become totally absorbed in an activity
- Has traveled to other countries
- tolerant of others who have cultural, ethnic, or racial differences
- pride in his/her own cultural, ethnic, or racial background
- Likes to find out about historical events around the world
- Enjoys learning about different cultural traditions
- Enjoys reading books
- Has good reading comprehension
- Enjoys doing word puzzles
- a good writer in one or more genres
- good speller
- large vocabulary for his/her age
- Enjoys listening to audiobooks or to someone telling a story or reading out loud
- Has a chemistry set or other science kit that he/she works with at home
- Enjoys logical or number games or puzzles like Rubik’s cube or Sudoku
- aptitude for fixing machines or mechanical things
- Likes to create three-dimensional structures with building materials
- good at doing jigsaw or other puzzles
- able to read maps well
- able to visualize images clearly, can describe
- Gets information more easily through pictures than words
- sensitive to the visual world around him/her, can express verbally and respond appropriately
- good handwriting
- good eye-hand coordination
- enjoys hiking and/or camping in nature
- Likes to spend time using a computer, tablet, or smartphone
- uses the internet appropriately for school and entertainment
- Knows how to set up audio-visual or computer equipment
- Likes to text on the phone
- Enjoys social networking (e.g. blog, website, Facebook); uses appropriately
- Has several his/her own favorite movies or TV shows that he/she likes to talk about and can do so without manipulating the conversation
- Loves learning new things; will seek out knowledge
- good test taker
- loves to run
Behavioral Strengths of a Child
Children can demonstrate a wide range of behavioral strengths, which may vary depending on their individual personalities, developmental stage, and environment. Here are some common behavioral strengths often observed in children:
- Resilience: Some children display remarkable resilience, bouncing back from setbacks, disappointments, or challenges with a positive attitude. They can adapt to changes and overcome obstacles effectively.
- Empathy: Empathetic children are sensitive to the feelings and needs of others. They show compassion, understanding, and kindness towards their peers, family members, and even strangers.
- Curiosity: Curiosity is a powerful motivator for learning and exploration. Children who are naturally curious ask questions, seek answers, and eagerly explore their surroundings, which can lead to a deeper understanding of the world around them.
- Creativity: Creative children often have vivid imaginations and enjoy expressing themselves through various forms of art, storytelling, or problem-solving. They can think outside the box, come up with innovative ideas, and find unconventional solutions to challenges.
- Self-regulation: Children who possess strong self-regulation skills can manage their emotions, impulses, and behaviors effectively. They demonstrate patience, self-control, and the ability to delay gratification, which are crucial for success in various aspects of life.
- Independence: Independent children are confident in their abilities and feel comfortable taking initiative and responsibility for their actions. They can make decisions, solve problems, and complete tasks autonomously, with minimal guidance or supervision.
- Persistence: Persistence is the ability to stay focused and persevere in the face of difficulties or setbacks. Children who demonstrate persistence are determined and tenacious, refusing to give up easily when faced with challenges or obstacles.
- Cooperation: Cooperative children enjoy working collaboratively with others towards a common goal. They are good team players, communicate effectively, and are willing to compromise and negotiate to achieve mutual benefits.
- Responsibility: Responsible children take ownership of their actions and obligations. They can be relied upon to fulfill their duties, follow rules, and contribute positively to their family, school, or community.
- Adaptability: Children who are adaptable can adjust to new situations, environments, or expectations with ease. They are flexible, open-minded, and can navigate changes or transitions smoothly.
These behavioral strengths contribute to children’s overall development and well-being, enabling them to build positive relationships, succeed academically, and thrive in various life situations.
Types of Child Strengths
A student’s strengths can fit into different categories or domains. Your son or daughter’s strengths as a student probably overlap in these areas. Many do.
There are many different types of child strengths, and each kid may have their own unique combination of strengths.
Some common types of child strengths include:
- Academic strengths: Examples of academic strengths are the ability to excel in specific subjects or areas of study, such as math, science, literature, or language.
- Creative strengths: Creative children have the ability to think outside the box and come up with innovative ideas, as well as their artistic and musical abilities.
- Social strengths: These include a child’s ability to communicate effectively (even if the communication is not verbal), work well in groups, and build positive relationships with peers and teachers.
- Emotional strengths: These include a child’s ability to self-regulate, appropriately deal with stress and adversity, and show empathy and kindness towards others.
- Physical strengths: These include a child’s athleticism, motor planning, coordination, and physical fitness.
- Leadership strengths: These include a child’s ability to inspire and motivate others, make decisions, and take initiative in appropriate situations.
- Executive functioning strengths: EF strengths include a child’s ability to manage their time, prioritize tasks, and stay organized.
- Critical thinking strengths: These include a child’s ability to analyze information, evaluate arguments, and solve complex problems.
Cognitive Skills or Strengths
In this area, I would include skills such as processing, communication, reasoning, and attention.
Language and Literacy Strengths
- Has effective communication and uses it
- Participates in discussions at home, at school, and with friends; non-speakers can follow along with discussions
- Tells stories that have a clear beginning, middle, and end
- Uses lots of words and likes learning new words
- Can answer “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” “why,” and “how” questions in conversation (or about a story)
- Understands jokes, puns, and sarcasm
- Understands the structure of sounds; can do tasks like rhyme
- Can sound out unfamiliar words
- Easily recognizes sight words
- Can remember details and retell stories after reading them
- Can make predictions based on what’s happened so far in a story
- Reads with expression, like the way an actor talks on TV shows
- Makes connections between reading material and personal experiences
Academic Skills or Strengths
Reading skills, writing skills, math or science skills, preferred subject area excellence, or study habits.
- Strong study skills
- Strong analytical skills
- High levels of motivation
- Good communication skills
- Ability to think critically
- Strong problem-solving skills
- Quick learning ability
- Ability to focus and concentrate for extended periods
- Strong research skills
- Ability to work independently
- Strong mathematical skills
- Excellent note-taking abilities
- Strong academic curiosity
- Good listening skills and processing skills
- Ability to interpret and analyze data and information.
- Has a strong number sense, like knowing which is larger and which is smaller
- Sees and understands patterns in nature and in numbers
- Remembers math facts
- Can do mental math
- Uses math concepts in the real world
- Understands math terms used in word problems
- Solves puzzles or word problems
Emotional Strengths of a Child
Examples include being well-liked, cooperative, a problem solver, making friends easily, socializing at appropriate times during the day, having a friend pool to draw from for support, and communicating with others well.
Children can exhibit a wide range of emotional strengths, including:
- Resilience: The ability to bounce back from setbacks or adversity.
- Empathy: Understanding and sharing the feelings of others.
- Optimism: Having a positive outlook on life and future possibilities.
- Adaptability: Being flexible and able to adjust to new situations or changes.
- Courage: Facing challenges or fears with bravery and determination.
- Perseverance: The ability to keep going even when faced with obstacles or difficulties.
- Self-awareness: Recognizing and understanding one’s own emotions and how they impact behavior.
- Emotional regulation: Managing and expressing emotions in healthy and appropriate ways.
- Social skills: Building and maintaining positive relationships with peers and adults.
- Confidence: Believing in oneself and one’s abilities.
Some examples of social-emotional skills include resilience, problem solver, positivity, optimism, pleasant and easygoing, adapting easily to unexpected changes, flexible thinking, and creativity.
- Shares, takes turns, and can compromise
- Puts effort into making friends and keeping them
- Is a good listener
- Accepts differences in others
- Asks for help when needed
- Accepts personal responsibility for actions (good and bad)
- Can apologize when needed
- Has a good sense of humor
- Is a good winner and loser
- Self Awareness
- Self-regulation skills
Executive Functioning and Processing Strengths
Sure, lots of kids struggle in this area, but many excel. Examples of good executive functioning skills would be the ability to stay focused/on tasks, organizational skills, time management, locker and backpack organization, and planning.
- Working Memory Skills: Working memory is for both long-term and short-term memory. It’s the ability to recall knowledge and use it appropriately. A child with a great memory is often able to remember instructions, people’s names, and previous learning experiences easily. This child may do well in school and remember content for tests easily. A child with strong short-term memory skills is often able to remember things for a short period of time, such as a list of items or a set of instructions.
- Sustained attention: A child who can sustain their attention is able to focus on a task for a long period of time.
- Selective attention: A child with selective attention skills is able to filter out distractions and focus on one task.
- Joint and Divided attention: A child who is able to divide their attention is able to focus on two tasks at the same time. Joint attention is the ability to attend to what you’re told, with another person. Such as, if you are reading a book to your child, are they looking and reading along with you?
- Logic skills: A child with strong logic skills is often able to see the connections between things. It’s the ability to connect the dots, as they say.
- Reasoning: A child who is good at reasoning is often able to understand and think through complex problems.
- Visual processing: A child with strong visual processing skills is often able to easily understand and remember information that is presented visually.
- Auditory processing: A child with strong auditory processing skills is often able to easily understand and remember information that is presented verbally.
- Processing speed: A child with fast processing speed is often able to quickly understand, complete tasks, and remember new information.
- Critical Thinking: A child who is good at critical thinking is often able to see different sides of an issue and make logical decisions.
Character Strengths in a Child
Some of the other online resources that you’ve found, similar to this list of child strength examples, may include Character Strengths in a child.
Admittedly, we all look for people of strong character–in our spouses, friends, employers, and so on.
But, one concept of this really bothers me. And, it’s the concept of honesty.
I have another article about children who chronically lie or are liars. As I state in that article, I was a liar as a child. But, it was not because I am of low moral character. It was self-preservation, and I’m an enabler (raised by alcoholics). Lying is what I did to survive.
So if you are going to make note of a child’s honesty, or lack thereof, please make sure you are doing a Deep Dive on that concept to determine what is really the issue for the child. I hate seeing kids punished for this, or for it to be treated as a character flaw.
My lying was treated as a character flaw, and it took me many years to realize that I am a good person. I just needed better coping mechanisms, which no one taught me.
Strengths and Special Needs Kids
We live in an ableist society. People get offended when I say that, but it’s true.
And while in your heart you may be in a good place, there are many unconscious biases that we may exhibit that are ableist. Being able to examine our own personal biases and learn from them in a strength (see what I did there?). We should all be doing this regularly.
So, reluctantly, I am going to post the Child Character Strength examples, but add a little bit to get everyone thinking about disabled kids and how this might work against them.
Character Strengths in a Child
Here are some “character strengths” that I found on another site, and my commentary behind them.
One thing you can always remember when evaluating a child’s strength or weaknesses, ask yourself: Is this a “can’t” do the thing, or a “won’t” do the thing. Won’t assumes willful refusal to do something. More often than not, with kids, it’s a “can’t” do the thing.
- Is honest and trustworthy (already addressed this above)
- Is caring, kind, and empathetic (it’s very rare to find a child who truly does not care or empathize with others; they often lack the traditional ways to show it)
- Helps others (do they have the skill sets to help others, to explain things, and be of assistance?)
- Shows loyalty (I don’t even know what this means, for students, loyal? really?)
- Works hard (IEP/504 students are some of the most hardworking students ever; they have to work twice as hard to get half as far; are you judging them based on the progress they’ve made, and is that really fair?)
- Is resilient (again, disabled students have to put up with much more than non disabled students)
- Shows independence (seriously? the ability to be independent is a character trait, for a disabled person?)
- Cooperates (an ableist society tells us that the disabled child must always concede to the abled child; rarely is the abled child thought of as ‘non-cooperative’ if he/she does not want to go along with the disabled child)
Good luck to you and your kids! Stay strong and keep growing!