As early as age 5, a child already has a good sense of their self-esteem. It's in these early years that children are most influenced to develop a good self image.
There's much that parents can do encourage kids to create a more positive sense of self. This results in better confidence, happiness, and socialization for their children.
Here are 6 key techniques for helping your child develop a positive self image.
1. Encourage Their Independence
A sense of independence is essential for a child's developing self concept. Independent children know they are capable of achievements, which helps spur their confidence. Encouraging independence also lets children make their own choices and solve problems.
The independent streak tends to show up around age two. This can sometimes be a frustrating time for a parent. Yet, it's best to learn to embrace this side of their personality.
Help guide your child by encouraging them to learn how to do things themselves. Start with small activities, like brushing their teeth. Then allow them to get dressed and tie their shoes without your help.
Be sure to practice patience during these transitions and times of learning. The goal is not to get it done fast, but to have your child feel they accomplished something on their own.
It's also key to try not to compare children to their siblings or other relatives. This can create a non-healthy competitive attitude in a child. Instead, help your child find and celebrate their unique personality.
2. Explore Their Interests
Having multiple interests is another way to further develop a child's self-concept. It helps to get them involved in a variety of activities at an early age. Offer them plenty of options so they can learn what they like and don't like.
This allows them to develop new skills and focus on their strengths. You're also encouraging them to have hobbies.
Try out soccer, gymnastics, and dance lessons. You can also spark their creativity, with arts and crafts. Gardening, baking, and reading are other enjoyable hobbies to explore.
Martial arts classes for kids are another great activity to try. This can boost a positive self image for your child and also help them to avoid bullying.
Be sure to seek social opportunities for your child as well. Arrange group play dates or after-school playtime. This allows them to make new friends and develop their social skills.
Interests should also be explored on an academic level. Encourage them to experience different subjects and extracurricular activities at school. This motivates them and gets them excited about learning.
3. Offer Them Choices
It's helpful to let your child decide what they want, within reason. This makes them feel more in control of their life and helps boost confidence.
It also allows them to learn the decision-making process. With this technique, children understand the process of cause and effect as well.
Do this by giving them a selection of menu options for lunch. You can also ask them which movie or show they want to watch during TV time.
4. Teach by Example
Children are little sponges that soak up your actions and personality traits. As a parent, it's essential to act as their main role model. This way, they can learn from you what is right and wrong.
There are many qualities and things you can develop in your home environment. Allow children to see you showing empathy and compassion for others. They should learn not to speak badly about others as well.
You'll also want to try to better control your own stress or anger. It's important to not be sarcastic or say hurtful things to children in a heated moment. These actions interfere with your child's self-confidence and how they treat others.
Help your child understand that things do not always have to be perfect. Teach them to be more adaptable to changes and react well to unforeseen setbacks.
It's also important to teach them about responsibility. This includes picking up their toys and keeping their room tidy. Then you can move on to bigger chores as they get older, like feeding the dog.
Teach children that mistakes and setbacks happen. Guide them through these learning experiences so they can adopt a try-again attitude.
5. Keep Communication Open
Communication is key for a child's working self concept. Teach them how helpful it is to talk about feelings when things get overwhelming. Encourage them to express themselves by talking, rather than acting out.
These techniques help children learn to handle their emotions and practice better self-control. Low self-esteem can lead to issues like depression, eating disorders, and drug abuse. So, a child must find a proper outlet to relieve stress or sadness.
Communication is especially important during times of transition. This includes moving into a new home, changing schools, or having a new baby.
Let your child know you are there if they need to talk, without pressuring them too much. Understand that while something may seem silly in the grand scheme of things, it's a big deal in their world. Provide feedback, without being critical or judgemental.
Proper communication also includes correcting your child when they do something wrong. Be sure to explain to them why they are in trouble for their actions. You also want to teach your child to use the right verbal and non-verbal cues.
6. Show Plenty of Affection
A child's positive concept of self can be enhanced by a parent's love. Through forms of affection, we teach children to love others and have compassion. This also establishes security and stability in their home environment.
This includes praising children and offering compliments for a job well done. Praise should be given not only for achieving something but also for the effort they put into it.
Be sure to find the right balance with this and be careful not to overpraise. This can lead to over-confidence or false confidence.
One-on-one time is also important for a child's self-esteem. This includes giving your child enough attention when a new baby comes.
A nighttime routine is a great opportunity for special one-on-one time. Reading a bedtime story together will help enhance your bond.
The Impact of a Positive Self Image on Children
A positive self image helps a child to determine their own unique identity. This allows a child to grow up with better confidence and a happier self-concept. Children with high self-esteem also tend to have better social and developmental skills.
Looking for more tips on teaching children to lead a happy and healthy lifestyle? Check out the family section of our blog for all the latest.