How to Get Superhero Self-Esteem!
If there’s one trait that your child needs to succeed in and out of the classroom, it’s self-esteem. Self-esteem is more than patting ourselves on the back when we succeed. It’s what gives us the courage to try new things and to be able to try something again if we don’t succeed at first. Young children are constantly looking to their family to determine whether they should feel good about themselves and the things they like to do.
There’s an abundance of benefits to having a high level of self-esteem! Studies show that students with a high-level esteem have increased frustration tolerance, are able to keep things in perspective, and brainstorm how to problem solve when things don’t go as planned. Overall, having a high level of self-esteem makes a person “secure” - they feel capable, effective at what they do, and accept themselves for who they are.
So how do we go about fostering high self-esteem levels in children? Here are 7 things you can do build your child's self-esteem:
1. Remind your child that no one is perfect
Perfectionism is actually a sign of low self-esteem, as it involves the pursuit of something unobtainable! Instead, teach your child that there is no such thing as perfect, and mistakes are to be understood as part of being human. Celebrate the effort, not just the outcome!!
2. Teach problem-solving
Children are naturally inventive and creative because they have a fresh perspective on the world! Although they don’t know how to do everything, it’s important to give them the opportunity to learn. Next time they make a mistake, teach them how to figure out a solution. It's gratifying to be able to solve a problem on your own, and we want to teach them that a mistake isn't "bad", it's just asking us to come up with a new way to do things. We want them to have the confidence to problem solve on their own rather than getting frustrated when things don't initially work out.
3. Give them choices
We want to empower children to be able to make decisions for themselves so that as they get older they are able to navigate tricky situations with confidence. By giving children choices, we teach them how to evaluate these choices and figure out what works best for them. Support the choices they make and remember that experience is the best teacher!
4. Talk about strengths
Every person has strengths, and part of having high self-esteem is being aware of what those strengths are. Talk to your child about what they think their superpowers and strengths are and help remind them of any they didn’t think about!
5. Set appropriate goals
While it’s normal to think that our children are amazing and capable of anything (they usually are!), it’s also important to teach them how to set appropriate goals for themselves. Being a fluent reader is a great goal, but it takes time. Celebrate the achievement of small goals until they get to their big goal! This teaches your children how to approach their dreams as a goal, and make a plan to achieve that goal. Reading several grade levels ahead of where they are in just a few weeks is not an appropriate goal and it will lower their self-esteem when they fail.
We need to teach children that they’re not a “failure” for not being able to do something that wasn’t realistic. The best goals are SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.
6. Accurate praise
Words of encouragement from our parents become the voice in our heads when we are in need of support! Instead of telling your child how “good” they are, talk about what makes them good and what they’re good at doing. Modeling this praise helps your child be able to praise themselves and encourage themselves in times of need.
7. Unconditional love
Of course, the most effective way to promote a child’s self-esteem is through teaching them that they are loved no matter what. Learning that they are loved despite any mistake they make or any “bad” thing that they do teaches children how to love and forgive themselves for their mistakes.
At Lil’ Eggheads, we emphasize how important confidence and self-esteem are in our students. When students have a healthy self-esteem, they are confident in their abilities to learn new materials, and don't give up if it's initially hard!
If you'd like more information on how to grow and promote your child's self-esteem, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tune in for our blog series about self-esteem.