Self-esteem is tied to how capable your child feels and how valuable they perceive themselves to be to others in their world. Children who feel good about themselves also have the confidence to risk trying new things.
Positive self-image helps children cope with mistakes on one hand, and on the other it gives them the confidence to try again in the face of failure. As a result, self-esteem helps children do better both at school and at home.
All children benefit from praise for doing something well as it fosters awareness of the child’s own strengths, which in turn helps build self-esteem. This is especially helpful for those with learning and thinking differences who often have to work harder to make progress in school.
Here are 6 ways to help children build precious self-esteem:
1. Step back
One of the best ways to build self esteem is to simply step back and allow your child to take healthy risks while at the same time encouraging them to make choices, solve problems and to finish what they start.
2. Frequent praise can do more harm than good
While praising children is good, over-praising can sometimes do more harm than good. Children are masters at detecting insincere praise or baseless compliments; praise that doesn’t feel earned doesn’t ring true. One way of coping with this is to praise how your child went about it, rather than to focus exclusively on the end result. By encouraging children in this way, you help to give them the confidence they need to overcome obstacles.
3. Be a good role model
When you cheerfully carry out everyday tasks, and do so without grumbling or complaining, you’re setting a good example. If you show that you take pride in a job well done, you are teaching your child to do that too. Your child learns by your example to put effort into doing homework, cleaning up or tiding their room.
4. Show that your love is unconditional
It’s important to let your child know that your love is unconditional. This means showing your love even when your child’s efforts result in failure or when your child makes a bad decision. Studies show that children who grow up with unconditional love have more positive emotions and experience less social isolation.
5. Let them help around the house
A great way to build self-esteem in children is to let them help with things like cooking, setting the table, washing dishes or making beds. This provides them with opportunities to demonstrate their competence and to feel that their contributions are valuable.
6. Set goals
By teaching your child to work towards goals and to have pride in their accomplishments you are providing them with opportunities for success. The positive re-enforcement that comes from achieving goals and receiving earned praise is a great self-esteem builder.
A positive sense of self is one of the greatest gifts you can give your child. Children with a healthy sense of self-worth more easily make friends and get along with others. They feel loved and competent and are well on their way to developing into happy, productive young adults.