My oldest son, Jayden, recently started Kindergarten, which for me opened a floodgate of emotions. I had a rough time growing up and I received my share of ridicule in school. Self-esteem is something that I struggled with in the past, and unfortunately the spite from some of my peers still linger on today. Growing up, I needed a little more encouragement than “You can do it” and “They’re just jealous”. I lived and I learned. Now I have the opportunity to do things a little differently, making sure that my boys are more resilient than I. Here are some great ways (that we apply in our household) to help build your child’s self esteem.
1. Give Them The “Why”
It is so important for our children to know that we care, believe in them, and understand the matter we are particularly providing encouragement for. While it is our job as parents to be supportive, it always helps to voice why we believe in our children. Kids can tell the difference between a lackluster “You can do it” and positive praise with reason. Sometimes it takes a reminder of their strengths and latest achievements to get them back on track.
2. Let Them Be Expressive
Children love expressing themselves through their clothing choices and hobbies. While you may not understand their latest fascinations, support them by showing interest in them anyway. Encourage them to write in a journal and welcome discussion. Having these freedoms will help them grow as unique individuals and they’ll be less likely to bottle their emotions or conform to societal pressures.
3. Positive Affirmations
Your child’s opinion of his/herself matters the most because they know themselves better than anyone else. Those opinions need not be negative. Have your child make a written or verbal list of all the things that make them special and have them recite a few each day. Every day I hear Jayden complimenting himself and even his baby brother. Just the other day he recited, “My hair is beautiful. I am handsome. Baby is handsome.”
4. Let Them Help
Whether it’s household chores, dinner prep, or a charitable cause, let them help. Children love to feel like they’re involved and part of a team. Helping out at home and volunteering in the community can provide a natural sense of accomplishment and a major boost to a child’s self-confidence.
5. Lead By Example
How often do we look at the mirror and nitpick at ourselves? Children often mirror their parents. If you are unkind to yourself, chances are they may pick up on your actions. It’s important to nurture your own self-esteem to serve as an exemplary role model. Continue to challenge yourself and set goals. Your children will follow suit and become aware of their purpose.
What tips do you have for building your child’s self esteem?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sheena Tatum lives in NW Indiana with her 2 boys and husband. Find her at Sophistishe.com, where her family stories, love of photography, and online lifestyle magazine intertwine. Tweet, pin, and Instagram with Sheena @sheenatatum