Self esteem is the psychological foundation upon which all human endeavour can be built upon. It is the understanding that one is capable of making a contribution that is valued and worthwhile.
Children need to begin life with a healthy dose of self esteem or else succeeding at anything in life including, learning, relationships, business would be difficult.
So how might parents, teachers and other significant adults enhance the self esteem of children in their care so that they grow up into healthy young adults?
Here are 5 top Ways to improve Self-esteem in children.
1. Love your children unconditionally.
We want our children to grow with a balanced dose of self-esteem right? then we ought to love them unconditionally. That means, accepting them for who they are, mistakes, failures, bad or good, behaviour and all.
They do not have to make the good grades before you shower them with praise, they do not have to pass that test, clean up after eating or fix their bed after waking up. Your duty towards them is to love them regardless. A person’s behaviour is not the person so also a child’s behaviour is a child’s behaviour not the child.
Can we stop equating behaviour with the child’s identity by saying “good boy” or “good girl to children when they have done something to please you.. or say some nasty self-demeaning names to children when they are naughty or do badly in a test?
Provide psychological freedom for the children. Correct children gently and leave out the name calling to protect their budding self esteem.
2. Provide emotional support.
Provide opportunities for children to give something new a-go, be it trying their hands on a new game, joining a different afterschool club, learning to play an instrument or making new friends.
Be available to encourage them when things did not go as planned. Let them realise that with continuous practice they would get better at anything and that it is always better to try something than have regrets later in life.
3. Allow children make their mistakes.
It’s called giving children the psychological safety to make mistakes.
Can we as parents and teachers stop fretting when children make mistakes? Its okay to fail some times. Its okay to not meet up too. Many inventors made mistakes over and over and over again before they finally became successful at their endeavour.
Make sure to always ask children what they have learnt from their mistakes. If they failed sums or any other activity in school, find out whether or not they have done their corrections. Many times more lessons are learnt from making mistakes than otherwise.
When parents and teachers make so much fuss from making mistakes, children may get wounded emotionally and refuse to try.
4. Resist the temptation to compare children
One of the most unfair things significant adults do to children is to compare them to other children.
Don’t fall into that temptation.
Children are born different even identical twins! Their faces, finger print, leg print, voice print and brain cells are different. They are UNIQUE! So why do we expect them to acheive or behave the same way. Even when children are of the same age they won’t develop at the same pace.
Comparing children will only make your child’s self esteem go lower as they try endlessly to meet your expectations of them.
Make your child know they are loved, cared for and very important to you by showing empathy.
Let your child know you appreciate their unique gifts and talents. and when they know you do they will begin to appreciate their own gifts too.
5. Show Warmth
Your non-verbal attitude towards children play a huge role in shaping who they become.
Your smile, gentle touch, tone of voice, eye-to–eye contact are daily interactions with children that enhances their self-esteem.
Parents and teachers must match what they say with how they say them. You cannot say you love a child unconditionally for example, yet you do not smile, nor come down to their eye-level when speaking to them.
In conclusion, as parents, teachers and significant adults, your relationship with children are the determinants of the children’s self esteem.
So, work on yourself, do your best and follow the strategies above you will be doing the children so much good.