In these days of overwhelming social media ideals and kids growing up at the speed of light, knowing how to help build your child's self esteem can be a challenge. Even though it seems ‘kids these days’ are so different from when we were growing up, there are some parts of childhood that are still the same as ever. Following are some tips on how to help build your child's self esteem that will stay with them for life.
1. There is No Such Things as Little Stuff
Whether it’s going to the fourteenth school concert of the school year to support your fourth-grader, celebrating the way your kiddo cut his waffle exactly on the grid lines, or applauding how she rhymed all of your pets’ names into one song, support that growing brain and learn how to help build your child's self esteem! Little discoveries today will turn into bigger accomplishments later on in life. When they realize that kudos for a job well done feel better than waking up to a snow day, they will want to continue to do better and better!
2. Even when They Don’t Make a Big Deal, You Should
It seems the rule of thumb these days is for children to try to be unimpressed…with everything. This is just for show. Deep down, kids love to know they are noticed and appreciated. So when you get the note that your child has reached the final of the school spelling bee, or that she received a B in the class she struggled to get a C in last semester, throw a parade! When he cleans his room without being asked, greet your industrious little one with two open arms, and a big “I’m so proud of you!”
3. Not Better than, but the Best You Can Be
Everything these days seems to be a competition. Why not try to remind your child the only person she has to consider when trying to do better than last time is herself? If they outdo their 3-point shooting average on the court, fantastic! Who cares if it’s not the highest score in gym class? The momentum is moving in the right direction. When your 9-year-old takes off his water wings, what’s the difference if he’s the last person in swim class to take the plunge? In the end, the only person either of you will probably remember in that class is him.
4. Affection Affection Affection
Why not call your child into the kitchen one day? When he gets there, take his beautiful head in your hands and plant a big mom kiss right on the top of it. Then turn him around and say “Resume,” sending him back to whatever he was just doing. His first response will be to wonder what the catch is. Eventually, his reaction will be to smile inside (if not out) when he thinks of his silly, loving mom. There are few things that can make a child feel more worthwhile than a hug for no reason. It shows you are thinking of your children when they don’t even know it, and that they will be called out not only when the vase gets broken or the dog needs feeding, but also just when you can’t help but tell them they are loved just for being themselves.
5. Point out the Good Stuff
Kids are selfish creatures, as it should be. Their main job is to figure out who they are, and how they fit in this world. Along this path, they will do things that seem right. While you may disagree sometimes, other times, your heart will catch at how wonderful they are. There are also the other occasions when they do something second nature to us, or something you’ve asked them to do a thousand times. Instead of the ‘It’s about time’ eye roll, how about calling them on the good stuff? Tell her you noticed she started squeezing the toothpaste from the end—good job! Or that he put the toilet seat back down—nice job! With this, they may find other ways to get those verbal pats on the back more often.
6. Spend Time with Them Even when You Don’t ‘need to’
Instead of trying to get the errands done as quickly as possible with a backseat filled with chatterboxes, how about finding ways to lose track of time and get them done with as much fun as possible? The dishes, lawn mowing, and bills can wait. You’ll have them for the rest of your life. These times with your children will go by in a blink and a half. Make them count even if you can’t make them last. Why not ask them a question which might spur a conversation? It could take a few tries, but once you hit on a subject that catches their attention (do you think fish talk, what would you change your name to if it could be anything, where would you like to visit more than any other place in the world), you are on the way to a lifetime of talks with your kidlets.
7. Ask Their Opinion and Advice
The next time you have a little decision to make—what to make for dinner, what to give Aunt Judy for her birthday, where to put the Christmas tree—ask your protégée. Chances are, they will have a thought and some interesting reasoning to back it up. While you may not follow their line of logic, you might see things from a different angle, and that’s never bad. And they will feel like they have a voice that is heard, and respected just for being theirs.
There are so many wonderful and unique recipes of how to build your child’s self esteem. They all start with the same ingredients: love, respect, and kindness. What is your favorite way to help the kids in your life to build healthy self esteem?