Feb. 1st kicks of National Self-Esteem Month. According to Dictionary.com, the definition of self-esteem is: confidence in one's own worth or abilities; self-respect. As adults, we are often lucky enough to develop this over time, as we have more opportunities to learn how to love and LAUGH at ourselves. Children on the other hand are just starting out with life and learning what it means to love themselves. Especially today where bullying has become more prominent.
Children with high self-esteem oftentimes feel more loved, competent, confident, believe in themselves and feed proud of themselves. Children with low self-esteem tend to be harder on themselves, think they are less than their peers, and practice self-doubt. When a child feels good about themselves, they have the confidence to try new things and give their best while trying them! Also, this can help children cope with mistakes and try again if it didn’t work out the best the first time around. This increased self-esteem can improve children’s performance at home and school.
Self-esteem develops throughout childhood in many ways. As babies, they can begin to develop this by simply feeling safe and loved. As they grow, learning to complete tasks independently can offer a big boost of confidence, especially when caregivers are providing praise for these accomplishments. Opportunities for self-esteem present themselves when a child makes progress towards a goal, when they learn something new, making friends, are included by others, when they try hard and so much more.
As caregivers, we have the chance to help children grow their self-esteem every day. Below are some ways in which you can help:
• Give children choices to help them feel empowered. This can be something as simple as letting them choose between an apple or an orange for their lunch bag.
• Be patient and allow the child to work things out for themselves before doing it for them. • Let them know that no one expects perfection.
• Only offer sincere and specific praise- for example instead of saying “wow, that was great,” you could say “I love how you included the whole family in your drawing. You even included our dog’s pink collar!”
• Allow them to help you around the house.
• Spend one-on-one time with your child.
• Be a good role model
To continue to observe this month, we encourage you to take the time to read different blogs that exist about self-esteem for both yourself and your children. It is a great way to start a month!