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Childlife.ca e-news#15: Cultivating Self-Esteem Part II

“Teach a child how to live, he will remember it all his life” Proverb 22v6

In our first article on Cultivating Self Esteem, we emphasized our need, as parents and teachers, to create an environment that children’s self esteem can grow in a positive way through our interactions with them.

In general, a high self esteem is to feel confidently capable for life and a low self esteem is not feeling ready for life.

As cultivators of children’s well-being, we can help by giving them opportunities to try, fail, and succeed. These are the building blocks to feeling capable and ready to take on life and new challenges.

Here are 4 more Essentials to help Cultivate Self Esteem:

  1. Sow independence and success: Encourage children to try new and different things. Supply them with opportunities where they can accomplish things on their own such as putting toys in marked bins or on low shelves. Give them choices they can make. “Do you want to paint or play with playdough?” “Do you want to tidy up now or in 5 minutes?”
  2. Measure and make sure you have reasonable expectations of children at the different ages and stages of development. Recommended is the series of books by Louise Bates Ames, Your One Year Old up to Your 8-14 Year Old.
  3. Prepare children by letting them know what’s happening throughout the day. Let them know ahead of time when there is going to be a change in activity or routine. “After lunch we are going to visit Aunt Mavis.” “In five more minutes, when the lights flick, it will be time to tidy.”
  4. Pick your words carefully. Be descriptive when acknowledging a child’s accomplishments or behaviour. When a child shows you her picture or finished work, instead of saying “Good work”, or “That’s a great picture”, invest in them a sense of accomplishment by describing specifically what you see. “I see you used a lot of red in this picture. You put it on the top and at the bottom.” This lets a child know you are looking at their picture or accomplishment in depth; that you are truly valuing what they have done which gives them an intrinsic feeling of self worth.

When we remember that a genuine, positive self-image is a life-long developmental process, we will be more inclined to spend time cultivating children’s likes, interests and strengths and offering opportunities that challenge so that they feel confidently capable for life and learning!

For more information on behaviour, parenting and child development: justask@childlife.ca
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Happy Days!

Mary