As parents, we all want to see our children develop a healthy level of self-esteem, self-respect and to have faith in their abilities to handle life’s challenges. Here are 5 strategies to build your child’s self-esteem.
1. Speak positive statements more frequently than negative ones
It is so easy to constantly point out all the things our children are doing wrong. However, this can cause our children to begin to believe that they can never do anything right. Try to give as much or more attention to the positive things your child does as to the negative ones. That being said, gushing insincere praise is also not beneficial and kids are masters at detecting that. Instead of frequently using the phrase, “Great job”, try to be specific about what your child did well. Aim to focus on praising your child’s character qualities instead of their performance abilities.
2. Give responsibilities
Many times is seems easier to “quickly get the job done” instead of giving your child the responsibility of a new task. Begin with small but important jobs that allow your child to feel as though they are contributing to the family. Be patient during the process and don’t criticize their efforts even the job is not done to perfection. As each task is completed, your child will begin to feel more confident in his/her abilities and feel the satisfaction of contributing to the family.
3. Enroll your child in an activity such as dance, martial arts or gymnastics
These types of extra-curricular activities offer so much more than just physical exercise. They are a form of individual expression that focuses on self-discipline, focus, respect and allow children to gain an incredible level of self-confidence. Explore options with your child and enroll in something that will combine their interests and be fulfilling to their character development.
4. Spend individual time with your child
At times, it can be difficult to carve out time to be with each of your children individually, but it is so important. Try to schedule some alone time with your child at least once a week. When you devote this time to your child, you are communicating that you value them and their feelings. Whether you choose to play a game, go for a walk, go shopping or have a bedtime chat – use the time to talk about what is important to your child.
5. Let them make mistakes
Although this may seem contrary to building self-esteem, mistakes can be valuable lessons in helping to build your child’s confidence. Children need to learn that some things are a challenge and may result in mistakes, but that we can overcome them. When your child can move forward after a mistake, it allows them to feel a sense of pride at accomplishing something that required hard work. Be sure to be their biggest fan in the process and encourage them to “keep it up” even if something is difficult.
Above all, continue to show your child unconditional love and help them to understand that no one is perfect, but that each person has strengths and abilities that allow them to grow into the person they were created to be!