Raising a Confident Child: Ways to Boost Self-Esteem
As children grow up, they are bound to venture in new places and interact with other people. A great example of this is when a child starts his or her first day school.
Parents would want their kids to be ready when this time comes. Children have to be trained to be brave enough to face new challenges. Toddlers and preschoolers tend to be still clingy to their parents. This is the reason why parents should know the guideline in raising the child self-confidence.
A child’s self-confidence is formed little by little as the youngster collect big and small achievements in school or at home. Add to this the praises and words of encouragement from mom and dad. They get a sense that they are capable to accomplish something and this feeling brings a jolt of confidence.
Parents should encourage the ‘can do’ attitude early on. Each new milestone a kid achieves, an increase in self-confidence takes place. Think about how wonderful to see babies who can follow simple gestures such as smiling or clapping.
Self-esteem in Children
The positive feeling of accomplishing something makes children ready to try new things. It makes them giddy to do activities with other children at school or in other public areas. These small accomplishments give them the self-confidence to do their best and try again if they make mistakes.
On the contrary, children with low self-worth feel timid and unsure of their capabilities. They are shy to partake in activities because they often over think that they will fail. They have a hard time coping with big groups. Children who are fearful give up easily and avoid taking part in group activities. A child’s self-esteem can lead or block the way towards success since even small activities contribute to this trait.
Boosting self-esteem is not only about praises, medals, or trophies. Self-esteem is the fruit of child’s experiences where he or she felt that he or she was capable, smart, and effective. Add to this the attitude where kids still feel great about themselves even when they fail at the start.
Children start to understand the concept of self-esteem when they see the results of their hard work. For example, you let your kid join your gardening one morning and you asked him or her to plant a seed in a pot. When you instruct him or her to take care of this seedling and it grows after a few days, you will see that your kid will love the progress he or she witnessed.
Aside from accomplishments, self-acceptance also builds self-esteem. When a child feels accepted around his or her family and friends, he or she will resonate this feeling to him or herself. To summarize, here are the behaviors often observed on a child will high self-esteem:
- takes responsibility
- offers to helping hand to others
- knows how to listen
- does not feel bad toward negative feedback
- can work independently
- can overcome frustration
- feels excited about new tasks
Meanwhile, a child with low self-esteem will exhibit these actions:
- blame others for his or her own mistakes
- unable to accept mistakes
- defensive when reprimanded
- pessimistic when offered new challenges
- can be easily influenced by dominant personalities
- avoids sharing his or her own opinions
Self-esteem in children does not develop overnight. It is a long and slow process. It is developed gradually as children work through every day activites. Here are some useful tips on how to increase confidence level in kids:
1. Find opportunities where your child can learn new things
At every stage of growing up, there are always new activities for kids which aim to promote building of self-esteem. New challenges do not need to be easy or hard, these situations can be as simple as learning to dress on his or her own, to ride a bike, or to complete a puzzle.
2. Don’t overpraise
Praises for your kids have to be always sincere. Put a spotlight on your child’s effort rather than the results. This can help a child to see the importance of giving a 100% when doing something. In addition, this kind of praise can motivate the child to try out new tasks.
3. Give honest feedback
Never underestimate kid’s understanding and just settle for hollow praises to make him or her feel good. It is better to offer an honest take on your child’s performance but be sure to add encouragement when he or she failed at the start.
4. Nurture your child’s strengths
Observe the activities where your child excels. If you feel he or she is into music, find activities that will nurture these skills. You can enroll your kid to a workshop where he or she can better develop these strengths. They are more likely to succeed when they enjoy what they do.
5. Be a good example
Children tend to look up to adults and imitate their behaviors. This is the reason why adults should be good models to the young. When you do tasks with a cheerful attitude, your child may pick up this practice and will do the same. It will be also good to avoid negative reminders and harsh feedback as these message bring nothing but dismay.
There is no one method on how to boost self-esteem in a child. One factor that makes the difference is the age. To explain this further, let’s look on how children perceive self-confidence at every stage of the growing up years.
Toddlers are at the age where they have a slight understanding of what they do but they don’t fully comprehend the consequences of their actions. Get your toddler involved in making decisions like what to eat or what clothes to wear. This will make them realize that they are capable of making things happen.
Teach your toddler simple command words like “yes” or “no”. Give them a sense of control by asking them questions answerable by these words. Let me see the outcome of things when they answer with either of the two. If for example they insist saying “no” to something they must do, explain to them in a non-complicated way the effect of this action.
It is also the perfect time to teach toddlers the idea of taking turns in group activities as they prepare themselves for preschool.
● Preschool to grade school
During the preschool years, high self-esteem is evident since children become busy with school work and have time away from their parents which motivates them to work on their own. They slowly feel accustomed to the idea that they have tasks to accomplish at school. However, kids at this point tend to compare themselves to other students. To balance this out, respond with a feedback that will let your child see that others have talents too and he or she is as talented as these people.
Preschoolers might get discouraged to seek new tasks when comparison at school grades starts. As parents, here are the things you and your partner can do to change this idea:
- Don’t forget to get updates from your child on the activities he or she did at school
- Show support by helping your child on his or her school assignments and projects
- A cuddle and kiss before your child goes to school will go a long way
- Coordinate with your child’s teacher and check on his or her performance regularly
- Be alert for any signs of learning problems, bullying, or social issues that your child may be experiencing at school
● Teeners to teenagers
Teenage years are tough phase to deal with. Aside from the physical changes one undergoes, youth are also faced with the feeling that everyone is against the things they like. Teens need the freedom to pursue what they want but also the proper guidance from parents. With proper supervision, teenagers can project a self-concept that is admirable.
Since there will be a rapid change in the appearance during puberty, teenagers should be advised to focus on collecting learnings instead of stressing over physical beauty. Self-esteem must be rooted in one’s personality and not only on the exterior.
With a bit of experience under their belt, teenagers can be entrusted with bigger responsibilities like taking care of younger siblings or leading a group in extra-curricular activities. Taking roles like these is the good way to build self-esteem. This will make teenagers ready to take on challenges of the “real world”.
When Media Dictates Self-image
In this world filled with celebrities who have huge influence on the young generation, children especially teenagers have the tendency to carve their self-image based on these people. Parents have a huge role which is to supervise how their children utilize media. Self-esteem should not be developed from idolizing the popular or the trendy. What are the elements of media that affect children’s perception of themselves?
- The way people curate their pictures on different social media sites and show only only the “perfect” sides of life. A fad of showing only the good is taking place since social media users are battling for attention in the form of likes and number of shares.
- Research have proven that printed and online advertisements have influence on the youth’s self-esteem. These materials are designed to make teenagers feel that something is lacking in their lives.
- False connections on social media lead to a confusing definition of a real influencer. Young people tend to emulate those people on social media who have thousands of followers and friends. Add to this the situation where that an idea needs to be on social media to make it acceptable or official.
Self-worth is when an individual starts to identify his or her unique style. The youth of today should be taught that is not important to always follow the trends. Exposure to the mainstream media including TV, movies, Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat and Twitter has already become part of the one’s daily routine, but you can teach your children what to focus on.
- Look into what your music, TV series, video games, or movies you child fancies. You will be able to spot who are the celebrities or characters you child might be influenced by.
- During family dinners, try to invite your children to share the recent shows, online articles, or videos he or she recently watched. This way, you will see how your child reacts to the media presented to him or her.
- Banning these media will just box your children’s ideas on many things. Let them talk and ask questions about friendship, violence, and sex freely. You can explain to them how this would be different in real life situations.
- You can set limits when it comes to accessing particular websites or movies but discuss to them the reason behind the rules.
- Choose a day where you, your partner, and the kids can unplug the gadgets. You can create a draw lots of activities you can do together as family. These activities can include playing board games, gardening, or doing arts and crafts.
A piece of advice that can boost a person’s self-esteem regardless of age: grab every opportunity that promises accomplishment of something sensible in life. Children still need a little push to do things and parents have to pave way for the new challenges to come in. Confidence building activities for kids can occur naturally at school or at home; just allow them to experience life as it is.
Teaching your child a new still entails patience but the rewards are amazing. Boost their spirits when they fail at the beginning and respond with excitement when your children demonstrate new skills. Be overwhelmed when the explicable feeling when you child can finally say the words: “I can do it!”
It will be a great event to look back to see your child gain confidence little by little. As a parent you will understand that there will come a time that your child will not seek for your advice when making decisions, but you will be confident that your child will succeed because of the values you taught him or her. In this way, you are bonded by love and learning.