Principal Doree Strauss with Daybreak Elementary tells us how parents can instill self confidence in their children.
Self esteem is a feeling from within, not something we impose on children. We can help children develop self esteem by:
- Helping a child recognize that people cannot be perfect at everything. Encourage healthy self-talk that focuses on the positive. In our class we use phrases such as "I'll do better next time", or "Look how much better we can do it now!"
- Allowing the child to make mistakes. We cannot protect children from everything even though we don't want to see them hurt. If the child fails, help him/her get back up and try again. Celebrate the effort, not the end result. Talk about how it feels to overcome failure, fear, etc.
- Encouraging the child to try out many things (sports, music, clubs, etc). They will not excel at all of them, but when they do express an interest or show aptitude in an area, help the child explore that area deeply.
- Honing in on a child's interest. If the child is interested in trains, help them become an "expert" on trains. Visit the library, go on a train field trip, write a report or stories about trains and share it with the family, etc.
- Not using empty phrases such as "good job", "you're the best", "way to go". Instead, be specific when you compliment a child. "I can't wait to read your stories about trains. I bet it feels great to work so hard and complete such a difficult project!"