Kate’s Corner: The Importance of Self Esteem
Posted October 26, 2009on:
We often hear self-esteem, self-concept, self-worth, self—, and wonder how these labels apply to our children. We can read articles that advise us to acknowledge and praise everything our child does and we can read articles that tell us not to. This gets confusing. Well, as a veteran early childhood educator, member of family organizations, parent and grandparent, I can tell you one thing that is certain; a warm smile and “thumbs up” that recognizes a positive act is welcomed by everyone.
Children who feel good about themselves are more likely to feel good about their world. They will take the time to make friends and try new things. They will take more responsibility for their actions and find pleasure in relationships with others. They see their world as a friendly, secure place because they are in it!
Building your child’s self-esteem doesn’t cost a thing, either, except your love, your time and your attention.
Wonderful! I’m proud of you! You tried really hard! I like the way you did that. Thank you. You are a good friend. I can tell you’re getting bigger! This is the nicest picture I’ve ever seen! I love you!
Sound familiar? I hope so! These phrases and other meaningful praise we give our children help them feel good about themselves and build their self confidence. Every time we take time from our schedules to really listen to our children and talk with them about their interests and ideas, we are telling them they are important and worthwhile.
Everyone needs to feel appreciated and loved. Small children thrive on it. We send this message to our children through nonverbal cues as well: Eye contact, smiling, bending down to their level, or holding them in our arms or on our laps shows them they have our attention and we want to know what they are saying.
Even the little things matter: Taping a paper to the fridge, listening to a favorite song, allowing your child to help in the kitchen or care for the baby, and letting him hear and see you truly encouraging him goes a long way in building self concept.
Children with healthy self-esteem feel that they are an important part of the world, that they are accepted, and they know that there are people who care about them. How can that be wrong?
Make Learning Fun!
-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director