12 Ways to Promote a Child’s Self-Esteem

· September 16, 2015

We’re so obsessed with adult well-being that we have forgotten the importance of fostering self-esteem in our children. It’s very important that our little ones grow up in a world of well-balanced adults, but it would be better if we could help them to be well-balanced themselves.

Children have their own ways of seeing, thinking, and feeling; there is nothing more senseless than trying to replace them with our own.

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau-

Children, like animals, perceive our fears and insecurities and internalize them very easily. Given this situation, the truth is that we should make an effort to keep this from happening. But how can we do this?

First of all, keeping in mind that we are their best example to follow, we should promote our own self care. Second, we can promote their self-esteem through how we act and how we treat them, as well as the values that we impress upon them, or in other words, how we educate them.

We don’t want children that have to be perfect because we don’t want to encourage arrogance. We want children that love and trust themselves and their own potential. Below is a list of 12 tips that will be sure to improve your children’s self-esteem.

1. It’s extremely important to always take them into account and dedicate time exclusively to them.

We should consider what the child asks of and needs from us. And if we are spending time with them, we shouldn’t be looking at our cellphones the whole time, or we will miss out on important moments with our children.

2. Correct their errors, but with love.

With patience and without shouting. Children are sponges that will absorb both the good and the bad. Make them understand that you are both learning together, from each other.

3. Encourage their autonomy by giving them responsibilities.

Let them make little decisions regarding their relationships or daily habits. For example, they can cook with you or prepare their own lunch, help you dry and put away the dishes, set the table, pick out their own clothing, etc.

4. Don’t compare.

Don’t compare them to their siblings or their friends. There’s no need to compare a child with anyone, and don’t compare adults for that matter. Nobody is better or worse than anyone else, we’re all just different.

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5. Don’t label them as “clumsy,” “bad,” or “stupid.”

This won’t help them grow up with a healthy self-esteem at all. When a child does something wrong, there are many ways to tell them so: “it’s not good to hit your brother,” “there’s no need to break your toys,” or “we have to work on math quite a bit.”

6. Neither should you label them as “clever,” “good,” or “smart.”

The child won’t understand what you’re basing these labels on. Instead, you could tell them “you did your homework really well,” “you did a good job cleaning up,” or “I love to watch you paint.” In other words, judge a child’s behavior, but not the child themselves.

7. Set clear limits and be consistent with them.

For example, if you don’t put away your toys, we won’t go to the park. The child will want to negotiate with you, but it’s not worth it to only go halfway. If you have set a reasonable condition for them, you have to enforce it or they won’t take you seriously. Firmness.

8. Value effort, not results.

Don’t fixate on whether they have perfect grades, what’s important is that the child has put forth a constant effort. Reinforce this.

9. Don’t overdo it with praise, and be specific.

Tell them what they have done well and why you liked it so that the child knows what pleases you. You did a great job putting away your toys is very different from You’re very organized.

It’s important that you tell other people about the child’s achievements and efforts in front of the child. It will make them feel valuable and important.

10. Validate their emotions.

If a child is crying, it’s probably because they have been hurt in some way. Treat this as important. Avoid telling them they’re fine. Something has made them feel bad and it’s important to attend to that.

11. Don’t overprotect them, or they’ll become insecure and dependent.

Don’t watch them like a hawk, or you’ll create bubble childrenYour child won’t break. They need a dynamic that constantly gives them opportunities to develop, not to become stagnant.

12. Reserve special time for each one of your children.

Try to find individual space for each one. Feeling important for a few minutes or hours is very reaffirming for them. Doing so shows them that it’s important to dedicate some time to each other now and then, and that you care about how they feel and seek to share new things with them.

Image courtesy of nuvolanevicata