A consciousness of self-esteem and a positive self-image in children begins at an early stage. The sooner the child has confidence about herself, is aware of her worth, the better her holistic development will be. Experts believe that children who have an optimistic outlook and are brought up with a high self-esteem, tend to be more resilient and confident even in the face of hurdles.
Jane Nelsen, a renowned family therapist in California, US, and theauthor of Positive Discipline, advocates, “Self-esteem comes from having a sense of belonging, believing that we’re capable, and knowing our contributions are valued and worthwhile”.
Self-esteem can be fostered in children at home, by parents and other family members, right from an early age. But to nurture this important child development trait, parents need to make a start. Here are some ways to boost self esteem in your child:
- Be a role model- Children follow what they see at home. When parents at home are comfortable in their own roles, self-confident and less anxious about things, children tend to pick up the same confidence and this helps in fostering self-esteem in them.
- Create a feeling of belongingness- When a child feels secure, assured and valued as a person in the family and not as a mere dependent personality, she tends to feel loved and develops a positive self image.
- Encourage a ‘Can-Do’ attitude- Children feel delighted and motivated even when they achieve small successes. To boost their self-esteem and confidence, motivate your child to take up new challenges and guide them through. Also assure them that small setbacks do not mean they are failures but just that she needs to try again.
- Recognise potentials- Parents, teachers and family members need to identify the potential within the child and give the exact amount of encouragement through praise, assurance and rewards to make the child feel self-confident and worthy. Help child to realise her own strengths, talents and qualities, but at the same time help her to accept own weakness and work on it too.
- Unconditional love- Child should always feel the vibe of unconditional love to feel valued as a person. If a child starts to feel that a condition is attached to the love she is receiving, she will compare herself with others and this may lead to complexes, low self-esteem and low confidence.
- Trust with responsibilities- It is essential for children to feel responsible from an early age. Parents should always let children make simple choices and guide them through whenever required. Parents can also entrust children with small and simple household chores and praise the child appropriately to boost her confidence.
- Setting goals as per ability- Parents should always aim at setting age and skill appropriate goals for their child. Let the child self evaluate the outcome (with parental guidance, of course) to understand opportunities of success and realise accomplishments.
And lastly, as their guardians, we need to teach children how to deal with success and failures adequately. Help them face challenges, take new risks through various activities, try out different ways of doing single thing and learn to enjoy them without stressing over the results.