But First, Self-esteem
We want our children to be successful in their own right. We want them to grow into confident individuals and to be comfortable in their own skin. We want our children to feel loved and be happy. What can we do as parents? Start by working on your child’s self-esteem!
Confident children are sure of their abilities and skills. Their confidence is built over time with every success they experience. Some children may exude confidence in familiar settings, but just don’t feel good about themselves. With all too many children, this negative self-perception may persist through their teenage years and into adulthood.
Children with healthy self-esteem are sure of themselves as individuals—their worth and value—no matter their capabilities! They accept failure when it happens and bounce back more quickly. They also look forward to new challenges. Healthy self-esteem is established in a child’s early years, from as early as babyhood. Here’s what we can do as parents—
Tip #1: Praise More, Praise Wisely
Praise makes children feel good about themselves. It tells them that you're proud of them. Be sure to make every praise count. "Good job!" and "Well done!" are easy to say but hollow. Be specific. Try, "Good job piecing that puzzle all by yourself!" Specific praise helps your child identify, appreciate, and value their own effort and contributions.
Praise your child's effort, progress and attitude rather than focusing on the results. With such praise, your child is more likely to attempt new challenges without feeling unnecessary pressure to perform every single time.
Tip #2: Let Go, Let Them
Children are more capable than we often make them out to be. Giving them the opportunity to do things independently sends a powerful signal to them. It shows them that you trust and believe in them!
Tip #3: Set Your Child Up for Success
Offer doable challenges and provide the necessary support. Mistakes will happen, and that’s okay. Encourage your child to try again.
With new challenges, it’s always good to break them down into small manageable parts. For example, rather than leaving your 5-year-olds to shop for a list of groceries in a massive supermarket, give them one item to look for at a time. This makes the experience less overwhelming and ensures that your child is able to accomplish the task. The feeling of accomplishment empowers a child.
Tip #4: Encourage Self-expression
Your child is unique and wonderful in his or her own way. Encourage children to express their thoughts and ideas with you and celebrate their individuality. Remind them that you love them for being exactly who they are!