Searching for some easy ways to help your kids feel good about themselves? A practical way to build their self-esteem is to focus on just four qualities.
Belonging is about meaningful connections with others. Kids, who feel they belong, feel safer, self-assured and better at managing challenges. This is why when friends exclude them it really hurts. By helping them to adjust to new environments; encouraging healthy friendships and building family values, you boost their sense of belonging.
- Set up play dates and activities where they can learn to cooperate
- Encourage team sports/group activities
- In new places and situations help them feel that they belong
- Do fun things together as a family
Mastery is the ability to achieve a skill / feel competent at something. Kids love to be noticed whenever they get something right without your help. This is why your four-year-old melts down when you take over for them. Babies don’t give up on walking after falling down once or twice. As parents we need to step back a little, motivating them to keep trying, while encouraging them to achieve things by themselves.
- Be encouraging when they are trying/showing you a new skill
- Avoid taking over when they’re struggling (rather encourage finding other ways )
- Always comment on their efforts
Independence is about being your own person – making decisions, problem solving and taking responsibility. When kids are given chances to manage themselves and become inwardly directed, their confidence soars. Remember over time, school and sport demands increase and kids are expected to manage without your help, relying on their own inner qualities and resources.
- Do less for them, and more with them (i.e. stand by while supporting with words)
- Don’t always give solutions – rather encourage them to think
- Offer choices – it builds independence
- Encourage decision-making- without telling them what you would do
- Involve them in simple household chores from an early age – it builds independence, responsibility and self-discipline.
If you’re in doubt as to whether they can do something without your help, give it a try. Use words to guide them, while standing by and commenting on how well they’re tackling the task. Although they may want you to help, if you keep encouraging and only help with words, they’ll soon believe in themselves too.
Generosity is about giving to others without expecting anything back. In helping others, kids feel good about themselves. Where children have plenty of opportunities and positive encouragement to be generous, they naturally become more helpful and caring, and compassionate towards others. Remember they’re learning by seeing what you do. With a little bit of effort, any selfish habits can be unlearned, and our kids can become far more helpful, kind and generous than we can imagine. Lead the way and let them follow.
- Be caring – share hugs and smiles
- Encourage gift making, giving and donating used clothes/toys
- Create a “gratitude jar” – let them write down what they feel most grateful for daily and put it in the jar
The wonderful parenting joy about strengthening these qualities (adapted from the Circle of Courage ModelÆ) is that it with a little bit of focus and effort we can build lifelong self-esteem in our children.
Written by Carol Surya, author of ParentMagic – raising kids positively.