A healthy self-esteem is essential if you want your kids to grow up to be well-balanced and productive people. Childhood is when personality and self-esteem is shaped the most. Of course, you still need to nurture how you feel about yourself and your abilities well into adulthood, but it’s so much easier to have positive self-esteem as an adult if it’s developed early in life. Here are seven self-esteem boosters that you can use with your kids.
I love to see my kids excelling in life so I spend a lot of time helping them build their self-esteem. Here are some of the things that I do:
- Remind your kids of their greatness. They will never get tired of it, trust me. Your teenagers might act like they don’t care – but they really are loving it. And the younger children get a kick out of hearing how great you think they are every day. Every time you tell your children that you think they’re terrific, the more positive their self-image becomes.
- Catch them being good. Psychologists have been saying this for years and it’s because it’s really a great tool. I actually use it with my kids all the time. Try searching for the things that your kids are doing well and compliment them on it. So if they’re really good in a sport, you could say, “Wow, I really loved how you kept up on the field today.” Similarly, if they did a chore without being reminded, be sure to mention it. “Hey, great job putting the dirty clothes in the hamper. And I didn’t even have to remind you!” Their face will light up and their confidence will continually grow.
- Watch your words. We’ve talked about this before. Words have the power to build and they have the power to destroy. Be very careful with the words that you use with your children. Never call your children names and be intentional about using nurturing words even when you’re disciplining them. What this communicates to your children is that they are intrinsically good and worthy of love – even when they mess up.
- Make your expectations realistic. Do not set your children up for failure by creating expectations that are too difficult for them to meet. If they are constantly falling short of the expectations that you set, then all they will experience is failure. And constant failure is the foundation of poor self-esteem. Now, I’m not saying not to set some “goal” expectations. Those are important too in order to help your children stretch and grow. And when they reach that goal, then their self-esteem will skyrocket. However, make sure that your expectations are developmentally appropriate. For instance, a mom that I know was trying to force her son, who was afraid of the dark, to sleep alone in his room at night. The tantrum that was happening every night before bed was destroying her sanity and his confidence. She started leaving the hallway light on and eventually he was able to sleep in his room by himself – and he was SUPER proud of his accomplishment. So, you see, it’s important to set realistic expectations based upon your child’s age, development, and personality. Set them up for success and their self-esteem will soar!
- Help children course-correct. Kids will miss the mark sometimes. When they do, instead of going off the deep end, help them process the error and make adjustments. When they see that mistakes are not the end of the world, then they become more confident at trying new things. And the more confident they are, the higher their self-esteem.
- Be present with your child. This means that you should be intentional about spending time with your kids. When they feel that they are important to you and that you make time with them a non-negotiable, they view themselves in a more positive light. So turn off the television and electronics and get into some more family time.
- Monitor your own self esteem. Kids mirror their parents. When they see that you have high self-esteem yourself, then they are more likely to value themselves more. Watch what you say about yourself and how you interact with others. Your kids are watching and listening. Believe it or not, they’re learning how they should feel about themselves by observing the way that you feel about yourself.
Self-esteem is the gas that kids use to go through life. If they are filled with positive self-esteem, then their journey will be much smoother. Try incorporating these seven tips to give your kids' self-esteem a boost.