I’ve always said that good self-esteem is the foundation of everything in personality development. Having positive self regard can feed into literally everything you do in life, and can really influence how you handle life’s challenges. This is why it’s so important that we nature good self-esteem in our children. So how can we go about helping children feel good about themselves?
Stephanie Hope and Toni McAree; creators of the award-winning children’s mental health book series I Have the Power To have now released a wellbeing workbook: Powerful Me. It includes fun, magazine-style activities and games for children 5+ to boost self-love, self-awareness, gratitude and confidence; skills that contribute hugely to positive wellbeing. Here, they share their top ten tips for helping children feel good about themselves.
1. Teach them the importance of not comparing
It is important that children recognise that everyone is different and on their own special journey too, encourage them to follow their own dreams and goals and do what makes them happy, even if it takes them on a different path to their peers.
Foster a ‘you vs you’ way of thinking, so they are their own competition.
2. Help them build a growth mindset
Without a growth mindset children will want to give up everytime something hard comes along, work on building a growth mindset so children know they always have the power to problem solve and overcome challenges.
A good starting point is helping them recognise when their mindset is fixed and how to rephrase these thoughts.
“I can’t do this” – “I can’t do this YET”
“This is too hard” – “I can ask for help if I need it”
“I’m not good at this” – “I can get better at this by putting in more time and effort”
“Everyone’s better than me at this.” – “I will focus on my own progress.”
3. Encourage them to talk to themselves in a kind and loving way
The way a child talks to themselves will strongly affect their confidence levels. If you notice your child isn’t speaking to themselves in a nice way, help them find something kind and supportive to say instead. If they are having trouble, ask them to think about what someone who loves them would say.
4. Model coping skills and self-regulation
The key to happiness is accepting all emotions and knowing that they will pass. Modelling positive and helpful ways of dealing with big emotions, such as worry or anger, will help children to learn the skills needed to find their way back to calm too.
5. Help them discover the power of positivity
Positive thinking means focusing on the good in any situation, helping children to focus on the positive will make their confidence and happiness soar.
To help make positive thinking a habit, make it fun. Try playing the ‘Reframe Game’
by adding the words ‘yes’ and ‘but’ to a negative situation. E.g.
YES, I got a question wrong in class.. BUT, it meant I learnt something new and some of my classmates did too!
YES, I got the lowest score in the class… BUT, I did better than I did last week, so I am making progress.
6. Get them to focus on their own strengths and attributes
Recognising and valuing one’s own strengths is an instant confidence boost. Find or create activities to help your child discover what makes them special and unique. Using ‘I am’ affirmations is a fantastic way to instil self-love and happiness.
7. Teach assertiveness
It’s important that children learn that it is okay to put their own happiness first sometimes and that they have the right to; Say no, say they don’t like something, ask questions, make mistakes and have a different opinion to someone else.
Being assertive and feeling confident enough to say how they feel might take some time but start by teaching them to pair what they want with kindness. E.g. “Thanks for asking, but I’d rather play alone right now”, “I love being your best friend but I’d like to play with other people too” or simply “No, thank you”.
8. Model self-awareness
Inspire confidence and self-love by showing children they don’t have to accept or worry about what other people think or say about them. By always loving and believing in themselves no matter what, no one will have the power to take their happiness away.
9. Create goals
Having a goal to work towards is a fantastic way of creating a sense of purpose and motivation in children.
Achieving a goal children have set for themselves will boost their self-esteem and confidence whilst enabling them to discover the importance of effort and perseverance.
You may need to help your child break down their goals into smaller and more achievable steps in order for them to succeed.
Gratitude is the world’s most important tool for creating happiness and making life beautiful!
By helping your child realise there is always something or someone to be thankful for they will find happiness with what they already have without wanting more.
Find opportunities to practice gratitude with children everyday and watch their happiness grow.
These are all great tips. It’s so important to instill confidence in the kids, but it’s easier said than done.
These are such great tips. I wish someone taught me this when I was growing up. Comparison is the direct route to sadness, but it’s so hard not to!
Those are fantastic tips. I always want to somehow correct him to something positive when he says I can’t do it.
It can be hard to teach the concept of comparison to the kids but it`s important. This would be a great value to pass on to our kids
These are all great. Gratitude will always be on top of my list. teach the kids to be grateful and they will grow happily
These are great tips kids need to hear from their parents and guardians to help them not fall into media influence and self doubt.
Helping children to discover the power of positivity is really so important for increasing their self esteem and I agree with you at this point utterly
Great tips- will share to my insta x
Great tips. I’m always working hard at trying to teach the girls self esteem. It’s so important.
These are great tips. Teaching kids to be grateful in small or big things is the key to be happy with simple things.