There are lots of advantages to a child having a healthy level of self-esteem, not only now in the moment but also as they grow up.
They are generally happier and more confident in themselves. And several studies have shown that they are less dependent on continual approval from others and are more resilient in the face of negative peer pressure. Possibly more important these days than ever before in a world where social media can be so cruel!
Of course they may still be upset by disappointments but they are less likely to be devastated by them or to sink into depression either as a young person or an adult.
1 Let them know you love them
Tell them and show them in whichever ways are suitable for them Not all kids like being hugged but most children value the time you spend with them and they like to know they are appreciated.
2 Listen to them
Listening to your child is one of the most important things you can do to make them feel loved and appreciated. Engage them in conversation over things they like and actively listen to what they say.
3 Teach them that they don’t need to be perfect to be loved
Give praise for effort as well as for results. Teach them not to be afraid of mistakes … If they make mistakes give constructive feedback.
Encourage them to learn from mistakes eg ‘OK, so it didn’t work out very well this time … what do you think you could do a bit differently when you do it another time?’
4 Encourage them to become involved in doing something to help other people. You could do things together
- Doing a sponsored walk or run to raise money for children who need help
- Doing a favour for somebody without expecting anything in return
- Befriending someone who doesn’t have many or any friends
5 Give genuine compliments not just automatic praise
If they show you a drawing or something they’ve made, instead of just saying ‘Awesome’ or ‘Fantastic’, take the time to really look at it and ask them questions about it. ‘What gave you the idea of it? Did you just think of it yourself or did something special inspire you to do it?’ ‘What made you choose that colour?’
6 Don’t criticise or make fun of them all the time, particularly not in front of other people
If you need to tell them off, remember to criticise their behaviour not them as a person. And don’t compare them negatively with a sibling eg ‘why can’t you be more like your sister?’
7 For the child who is less academically able or less sporty
Encourage them to become knowledgeable about a topic that isn’t generally well known. It gives them a chance to shine. Or help them develop a completely different kind of skill.