- What is self-esteem?
- How to help your child have good self-esteem?
- Behaviors that Lower Self-Esteem
- Be a good role model for your child
- To remember
- To develop self-esteem and the esteem of others, a child needs to know that what he thinks, what he feels, and what he does is important. Your little one’s self-esteem is highly dependent on you. Your words and your actions, as a parent, have the power to develop or reduce it.
If your child is 5 years of age or older, see our Self-esteem in children 5 years and older fact sheet.
What is self-esteem?
The terms “self-confidence” and “self-esteem” are often used as a synonym. There is, however, a difference between the two, even if they are linked. To have good self-esteem, you first need to have self-confidence. The feeling of confidence is to believe in one’s ability to succeed.
Self-esteem is linked to an awareness of personal worth. So, it’s knowing how to recognize your strengths and your limits and, therefore, have a realistic vision of yourself. Self-esteem can also vary from one context to another. The child can have good self-esteem on the motor level (riding a tricycle, climbing in modules), but self-esteem to improve with regard to his relationships with others.
Self-esteem grows as your child experiences success receives positive feedback and tries new things.
Having good self-esteem means getting to know your strengths and weaknesses and accepting yourself as you are. It is also about feeling worthy of being loved and feeling safe enough to use your abilities and face the challenges of life. It is to understand that we have value, even if everything we do is not perfect.
A toddler with good self-esteem can:
- to make choices;
- to be comfortable with others;
- express their needs, feelings, ideas, and preferences;
- dare to take small risks and give yourself the right to make mistakes;
- trust each other and trust others;
How to help your child have good self-esteem?
The best way to help your little one build self-esteem is to let them know they are loved. You can contribute to this feeling in different ways.
Show your child that you love them as they are, unconditionally, not for what they do or how they look. You can do this by telling her often that you love her and being affectionate.
Highlight his new skills with positive comments. This can make him even more proud of a success he was already very proud of and thus develop his feeling of confidence.
Help your little one get to know each other well, for example by getting them to recognize their preferences and strengths. For example, encourage him to make decisions, such as choosing his clothes for the day.
Encourage him to face new or difficult situations. Accompany him, however, so that he does not feel overwhelmed. Also, be sure to place him in situations where you know he has a good chance of succeeding. However, do not push your child too hard. Have expectations adapted to their age? Also, don’t set the bar too low. He would then think that he is not good enough.
Invite your child to take on challenges commensurate with his abilities and his age. For example, let him do small household chores. When he has small responsibilities, he feels useful and proud of himself. Also, encourage her autonomy. For example, if he is trying to put on his shoes on his own, wait until he asks you before helping him.
Give your little one time. Whenever you spend time with him and pay attention to him, he understands that he has value in your eyes.
Have fun with him. When playing and having fun, your child feels good and happy, which helps him to have good self-esteem.
The importance of congratulating your child
Offer your child a stable routine and clear rules. This promotes the development of a sense of security that helps them build their self-esteem.
Praise him for his efforts when he does, for example, a more difficult task. For example, say, “Well done, you took your time to tie all the buttons on your coat!” “
Teach your child that everyone can be wrong. If he made a mistake, explain why it was a problem, but nothing more. This will preserve his self-esteem and the confidence he needs to succeed in life.
Treat him with respect. It’s one of the best ways to teach your little one to respect himself and others.
Listen to him carefully when he has something to say and take him seriously. If you don’t agree with him or don’t like what he’s doing, talk to him using sentences that start with “I feel like …” and “I think than… “. To avoid appearing to criticize and judge him, avoid starting your sentences with “You are …”.
Every day, you can take action that will help your toddler realize their worth and have a positive view of themselves.
Behaviors that Lower Self-Esteem
Avoid overprotecting your child. This prevents him from learning and sends him the message that he is not capable or not good enough to do things.
Your child does more good than bad in a day. Bet on the positive and try to say at least three kind and constructive things every day.
Don’t constantly criticize him. If you always make negative comments to your little one and if, despite his efforts, you are dissatisfied with his behavior, he will be discouraged. Do not criticize him before others.
Avoid labeling your child, for example, saying that he is lazy, slow, or tanning. It’s hurtful, and it ends up making your little one feel less valuable than the rest. Rather, focus on the behavior to be improved rather than on the person. For example, if he hits his brother, tell him that his gesture is not nice instead of saying that he is not nice.
Don’t ignore your child. Take an interest in him and what he does. You are at the center of his universe. Your eyes on him and the attention you give him mean a lot to him.
Do not compare him with his siblings or with other children his age. Compare him to himself by highlighting his progress.
Don’t emotionally blackmail your little one. Don’t tell him, for example, that it would really make you happy if he could do what you ask him to. He might think you only like him when he makes you happy. Your child needs to know that you love him unconditionally, even if his behavior is not always perfect.
Be a good role model for your child
Your little one learns a lot by imitating you. So you can help him by working on your own self-esteem. Here are some examples of what you can do:
Don’t ask yourself too much: it can only hurt your self-esteem and cause you to expect too much from your child.
Don’t be put off by the effort;
Be openly proud of your accomplishments, even of what seems small to you;
Do activities for fun, not a performance;
Don’t give too much importance to others;
Give yourself moments when you put yourself first;
Don’t belittle yourself. If you have made a mistake or you are less good at a task, only explain to your child that you will start again and learn to do better the next time;
Consult a professional (e.g. psychologist, psychotherapist), if necessary, if you cannot see things more positively.
Having good self-esteem means appreciating yourself for what you are, at fair value.
You can help your child build self-esteem by praising him for his efforts, giving him time, and giving him small responsibilities.
You serve as a role model to show your child how to have good self-esteem.