Good communication is an important parenting skill. No matter the age of the child, good and effective communication is the key to building self-esteem as well as mutual respect.
A healthy self-esteem is like a child’s armor against life’s challenges and helping your children build one right from a very young age will be one of the best gifts you will ever give to them. Self esteem and self confidence begins to form very early in life, right from early childhood and is always shaped by words, thoughts, relationships and experiences.
Your relationship with your child is by far one of the most important and perhaps greatest factor that will help shape and influence their self esteem and confidence.
Here are some tips on helping your children build a healthy self-esteem, self-worth and self-confidence.
1) PAY ATTENTION TO THEM
Value and give your full attention to your children’s play activities. Spend time playing games and doing fun activities with them and ensure that you give them your full attention during these play sessions. As often as possible, allow them choose and lead the play activities/sessions.
2) LISTEN TO THEM
Watch out for times when your children are open to talking and engage them in conversations. Don’t pressure them to talk if they don’t want to and don’t shut them up when they want to talk.
3) SPEND TIME WITH THEM
Spend regular daily time with your children. Make time for them on your daily schedule. Spend one on one time with them as often as you can and ensure that you give them your full attention at such times. No phones, No distraction.
4) PRAISE THEM
Focus on the positive – their positives. Watch out for the things they are doing well and lay more emphasis on those. Praise their efforts as well as their successes. Be truthful and honest about the praise and be sure not to overdo it.
5) TEACH THEM TO BELIEVE IN THEMSELVES
Help your children learn about themselves and what they are good at. Help them identify their own strengths and to appreciate what makes them unique. Also, instill in them the ability to overcome disappointments that may come from the things they are not so good at. Reassure them of their capabilities whenever the need arises and always remember to praise and reward their efforts and not just the things well done.
6) BE A POSITIVE ROLE MODEL
Be confident yourself, children learn by example. Don’t be too hard on yourself, set accurate standards for yourself and be realistic about your own abilities and limitations. Nurture your own self-esteem, self-worth, self-concept and self-confidence and set good examples for them.
7) ENCOURAGE THEM TO BE OBJECTIVE
Encourage your children to see situations in objective ways. Pay attention to any unhealthy or inaccurate perception and belief that they may have about themselves and help them set healthy ones. Helping them set healthy and realistic standards will invariably help them have healthy self-esteem.
8) BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU SAY TO THEM
Children can be sensitive to words. Don’t be negative and don’t use negative words on them. No matter what they do, always let them know how smart, intelligent, brave, fearless, thoughtful they are and always tell them how proud you are of them. Even when they do wrong, correct them with positivity. Don’t insult or verbally abuse them and don’t talk down at them.
9) CREATE A SAFE AND LOVING HOME ENVIRONMENT
Do all you can to protect your children from all forms of abuse. Children can easily develop a very poor and low self-esteem if they do not feel safe at home or are being abused. Watch out for signs of abuse, bullying and so on and encourage your children to talk to you about any serious issue that they may have in school or at home.
10) SHOW THEM LOVE AND AFFECTION
Be loving and affectionate towards your children. Give them hugs and kisses. Let them know you love them, are proud of them and believe in them. Your love will definitely give their self-esteem and self-worth a great boost. If they are of school age, put notes in their lunchboxes every now and then with lovely messages like ‘You a Super-Star’, ‘I Love You’, ‘ You are the best thing that happened to me’, You are an amazing child’ and so on…