Developing self-esteem in children is absolutely critical to the growth cycle of a child. From a very young age until they grow in to successful adults, it is important that we as parents understand this need and do what we can to prevent low self-esteem.
Here are some simple guidelines that can help in developing your child’s self-esteem:
Focus – Let your children know you’re completely focused on them while you talk to them. Children want an authentic relationship with you. If you don’t engage them, they will disconnect. Also, say “I love you” to your child at least once a day. (Even if you have a teenager who might think this is not so -cool )
Time – Spend time with your child. Even if it is only ten or fifteen minutes some days. The quality of the time spent is worth far more than the quantity. Whenever possible read to your child. Encourage your child to ask questions and comment on the story.
Get involved in your child’s activities – Go to the dance recitals, rugby games, school concerts, etc. Your presence shows your child that you care.
Children like to feel needed – Assigning them a task such as making their bed or folding the clothes makes them feel important.
Exhibit confidence yourself – Children can read adults like a book. They learn by example and they are sensitive to the emotions of others.
Listen – Your child has a lot to talk about, and when you take the time to listen, your child will learn that his/her opinions matter. Be as approachable as possible.
Always keep your promises – Avoid making promises you cannot keep. Children may feel as though they are at fault when an adult doesn’t keep a promise to them.
Avoid comparing siblings to each other – Remember that each child is an individual with his/her own personal needs.
Appreciation – Make your child feels special and appreciated; focus on things that your child enjoys doing so that he/she has an opportunity to relax and to display his/her strengths.
Recognition – Once your child has done something special or mastered something, recognize this and affirm it. Cheer them on and congratulate them on their achievement. This is a major confidence booster for any child with the resulting effect of feeling good about themselves and therefore raising their self-esteem.
Encouragement – Self-esteem is boosted with your encouragement. Encourage decision-making; this will lead to a feeling of confidence and independence.
Control – Give your children some degree of control over their lives. When they are younger, they can choose what clothes to wear, for example, as long as they are appropriate for the weather. Or what breakfast cereal to choose.
Mutual respect – Children’s self-esteem will be higher if you treat him or her seriously and with respect. Explain to the child everything and treat him/ her as an intelligent individual able to understand and reach conclusions.
Security and safety – Children must have their basic needs met if they are to feel safe and comfortable. A sense of security and safety allows them to take the next step: to try new things and to learn about themselves.
Talk The Talk – Teach your child to practice making positive self-statements. What we think determines how we feel about ourselves and those feelings determine how we behave. This is the reason it is important to teach children talk to themselves in a positive manner.
Remember, children are constantly learning and are very impressionable. They look to you for guidance. Encourage them, love them, talk to them, listen to them and most of all believe in their abilities. You are the key to building their confidence.
– Sharon Atkins