Self-esteem, or a belief in oneself, is crucial for a child’s development. Healthy self-esteem will help your child interact with peers and grow throughout their time in school, as well as help them persevere in the face of challenge. A strong belief in oneself will allow your child to resist the negative pressures that could prevent them from achieving their goals. Children as young as three or four can start showing signs of healthy or unhealthy self-esteem. Moreover, because children are so heavily influenced by their parents and role models– it is crucial that parents are aware of the ways they can help build up their child’s self-esteem from an early age.
As parents, your role in your child’s development cannot be overemphasized. They will look to you and your actions as an indicator of their own self-worth, so setting a proper example is crucial. If you do not take care of yourself, your child will follow suit: by setting a negative precedent, your child will be unable to take proper care of himself or herself.
Here are some specific steps you can take to encourage your child’s healthy self-esteem levels:
- Talk to them in positive ways. Showing that you value them as a parent demonstrates to them that they are indeed worthy of value.
- Point out how they have grown and matured. Children often want to grow up faster, a natural desire acquired from hearing phrases like, “You’ll be able to reach that when you’re older.” While you can’t actually speed up their growth, pointing out how much they have already grown (physically and mentally) can help them realize how far they’ve come.
- Point out how they are still growing. Giving your child an idea of how much they will continue to grow will give them something to look forward to. If possible, show them how they can improve a current skill such as reading or handwriting.
- Praise their effort. Children are easily discouraged when they do not achieve something exactly the way they wanted. Be sure to let them know that the effort they put in is just as important as the end result.
- Discuss ways that they can improve when they fail and start to feel down. By showing your children that they can work towards their goals by understanding their mistakes, your child can learn to overcome failure at an early age.
- Treat their opinions with respect. They need to know that their ideas are valued. If they contribute something that cannot be used now but can be brought back up again later, don’t forget to revisit their idea and remind them they were in fact the one’s who came up with it.
Remember, many of these tips are skills that take time to learn and require practice. Empower your children with the self-esteem to live a happy and productive life: show them that their ideas and opinions truly matter.
We invite you to schedule a tour of the Day Star Montessori Children’s Learning Center and see how a Montessori education may help develop your child’s confidence and self esteem.