We are naturally protective over our children but sometimes we just need to step back and let them go. Let them take that bike ride to their friends on their own, let them have that sleep over at their cousins and let them go off to the movies with your neighbours family.
This helps them build up confidence in their own abilities and their self- esteem. Self-esteem is how we feel about ourselves and liking ourselves and who we are and our behaviour reflects those feelings. Here are some tips that I have found helpful to boost my children’s self-esteem and confidence:
Let kids make their own choices. Children make decisions all the time but often are not aware that they are doing so. You can help your child improve their ability to consciously make wise decisions. When they make their own age-appropriate choices, they feel more powerful.
Step back. You have to learn to step back and let your child take risks, make choices, solve problems and stick with something that they start up. You also do not always have to praise kids for everything they do well.
Spend time together. You are busy, I know, but to help your child you need to spend quality time together. Doing this not only helps you to build a better relationship; it also shows that they matter enough for you to give one of your most precious gifts – your time.
Don’t do everything for them. Be patient and let them work things out for themselves. It may be faster and easier to dress your pre-schooler, but letting them do it will help them learn new skills. The more they get to overcome new challenges, the more competent and confident they will feel.
Encourage communication and discussion. When you do this, you are showing that you value the viewpoint and ideas of your child. This will be a huge confidence boost for them and will encourage them to be open and expressive later in life. We encourage our kids to join in the conversation with adults and to contribute what they can to a discussion.
Encourage your children to be assertive. Let them ask for what they want in a direct and assertive way but also being sure to reinforce that there will be no guarantees that they will get what they want. I have taught my son that you get what you ask for and don’t be shy to speak up and ask.
Set goals. Teach your kids to work towards a goal and to have pride in their accomplishments. Provide them with opportunities for success. We create a plan for our kids of a few things they want to achieve in the year and then touch base every month to track these goals.
Laugh with your children. Also encourage them to laugh at themselves. A good sense of humour and the ability to make light of life are important ingredients for increasing one’s overall enjoyment. We are sometimes silly and sing and dance and this embarrasses our kids no end but they join in occasionally and realise that it can be fun.
Be a positive role model. Children learn a lot about self-esteem by watching their parents so if you’re hard on yourself or unrealistic about your abilities, your kids might eventually mirror you. Nurture and boost your own self-esteem and they’ll have a great role model.
Don’t compare. Try not to draw comparisons between your children and also with other kids. No two kids are the same so appreciate the uniqueness of each individual child.
How do you encourage your kids and develop their self-esteem?