Building Your Child’s Self Esteem

December 26, 2011

Self Esteem is about feeling good about yourself.  Children are not born with self-esteem.  It develops as they grow, through their relationships and experiences.

How Parents Can Help:

Respond to your child’s needs and show them they are important

  • Respond quickly and sensitively when your child cries or seems upset with eye contact and soothing words
  • Smile at your child and say nice things
  • Always respond to your child’s calls for help and attention

Help build independence

  • Let them pick activities and the clothes they wear
  • Give them choices
  • Let them help with the things you are doing
  • Teach your child about other people

Give praise and encouragement for the things they do

  • Use encouraging words, like “Good for you!” and “That’s amazing!”

Let them explore their environment and learn to feel confident about what to expect from it

  • Make a safe place and encourage your child to explore.  Let him crawl into a closet if there is nothing harmful inside.

Teach them about feelings and express emotions openly

  • Talk about your child’s feelings and the reasons for them, “It really makes you angry, doesn’t  it?  You were having fun and it’s time to leave”.
  • Talk about your own feelings and the reasons for them, “I really am sick of doing the dishes!”
  • Talk about other people’s feelings and the reasons for them, “Your sister is sad because I won’t let her watch TV”.

Be consistent with discipline, and take time to talk to children about behaviours

  • Use a soothing voice and an explanation of consequences and desired behaviour

Prepare them for new experiences

  •  Talk to them about where they are going and what they are going to do
  • Talk to them about what they are feeling, seeing and hearing