Building self-esteem in children

“What we can or cannot do, what we consider possible or impossible is rarely a function of our true capability. It is more likely a function of our beliefs about who we are.”

Self-esteem means how people see themselves and their capability to do things. Scientific studies prove that self-esteem in children gets established as early as when they are 5 years old. 

From peer pressure to everyday failures, we all know growing up is harsh. Self-esteem develops as a child feels safe, loved, and accepted. Children with high self-esteem have more courage and confidence in the face of life’s many adversities. Children with low self-esteem, on the other hand, are self-critical and unable to deal with negative situations well. 

Here's how parents can ensure their toddlers turn into confident young adults with high self-esteem. 

  1. Unconditional love - Let your children know that you love them regardless of success/failure. How a child is loved when they are young lays the foundation of all their relationships in the future. Children with a strong sense of belonging are more secure and have better relationships. It also creates a stronger bond, so hug them often, snuggle & read together and let them know you love them every day.
  2. Healthy praise - It’s important to let your children know you are proud of them. Healthy praising can be instrumental in building positive self-esteem but it's a thin line. Overpraising can actually do more harm than good. Thus, it’s important to praise wisely. Instead of just praising the results, it’s great to praise the effort they put in. 
  3. Help your child in learning new things-  It’s important for parents to set goals for their children that are not too easy or too hard so they can feel proud of their accomplishments. Children are always learning and every time they achieve something it adds to their self-esteem.
  4. Focus on their strengths - Doing what they enjoy and are good at can boost children's confidence and help in building positive self-worth. Focus on your child’s strengths and create opportunities for them to develop these.
  5. Responsibilities and chores - When children are given opportunities to show their competence, self-esteem builds.  Giving children responsibilities and chores around the house can be a great way to do this. It’s important to give them achievable goals and tasks so they feel successful.
  6. Failures as learning experiences- Failure is inevitable and can affect a child’s self-esteem if not dealt with in a positive way. When parents let children know that every setback is actually an opportunity for growth, they help them gain a new perspective. It’s important to teach children persistence over perfection.
  7. Encourage independence: It's important to give children choices even if the clothes they choose don't match or the table they set is too colorful :P
  8. Play together and have fun- Let your children know how much you love spending time with them. Have routines and playtime where you are silly and happy together. Not only is it a great stress reliever but it has many positive benefits for the child’s healthy development.

Additionally, children are like sponges and are always observing their surroundings. More than telling them what to do, engage in behaviors you would like your children to emulate. With a little effort, parents can build healthy self-esteem in kids that can lead to healthier, happier, and more successful adults.  

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