Developing a healthy self-esteem is an integral part of early childhood development. Having confidence in your abilities, beliefs, and qualities can bring a lot of peace through difficult times or periods with a lot of change and uncertainty. What does a healthy self-esteem look like, and how can we best support and foster this in our children? Let’s explore together.
What Does A Healthy Self-Esteem Look Like?
Self-esteem involves the way that an individual feels overall about themselves. Having a healthy self-esteem does not equate to having a big ego; it is more so how one feels about who they are and what they are capable of doing. Children who have a healthy self-esteem will have a sense of independence or autonomy, an ability to express their own emotions, have expectations for themselves, trust for themselves or others, and also can assume responsibility for their actions.
1. Have Fun and Create Together
Take time with your child to have fun and create together. It is important that you hold zero expectations during this process, as art should be fun and full of autonomy. Support their creative decisions throughout the process! This opportunity is an excellent chance to learn through play by working all of our senses.
- Provide paint supplies and support your child’s abilities to create through words of affirmation.
- When their masterpiece is finished, showcase their art in frames around your home or on the fridge! Show your child you are proud of what they accomplished and affirm that you love what they created.
- Encourage them to explore their creative side and provide paints and clay to express themselves.
2. Unconditional Love and Familial Culture
For children, self-esteem originates from the understanding that you are cared for and play an important part of a family unit that values you! Having a community or family to fall back on when times are hard creates a sense of purpose and value. This might look like:
- Giving your child an awareness of their lineage and familial culture. Be a part of discovering your families’ history, where your ancestors came from, and take time to explain traditional beliefs and practices that accompany that history. Knowing where you came from allows you to be proud of the person you are presently and are working to become!
- Support your child by offering genuine praise and admiration.
- Create a safe and loving home environment. Home should be your child’s safe place to express their own emotions without fear of judgment, retaliation, or punishment.
3. Responsibility and Independence
Being a part of a community and knowing your responsibilities can create a greater sense of purpose.
- Make it clear that they are valued as a member of your family. Engage in a daily routine or schedule together.
- Get to know and host your child’s acquaintances and friends. Foster those relationships and have confidence in your child’s ability to be independent. Allow your child to have friends over your house and, if appropriate, allow for your child to go to their houses in return.
- Provide clear expectations and responsibilities for your child within the family unit. Celebrate when those have been met/fulfilled with a family dinner or special treat!
4. Learning Experiences – Setbacks Do Not Make You a Failure
It is essential to teach your child that setbacks in life are not failures. Trying and failing at something does not detract from their own worth, value, or merit. The very act of trying is brave, and getting up and trying again after shows strength and tenacity: two qualities that are worth celebrating and being proud of. Here are a few ways we can encourage getting back up and trying again when they do not get something right the first time:
- Discuss overcoming obstacles in your child’s own time and way. When you teach your child problem-solving skills, you are providing a tool kit that they will use to navigate future challenges.
- Every successful person has setbacks; the ability to get back up and try again makes them successful! Have a meaningful conversation with them about how progress works. Look to role models and find examples of what they overcame to be as successful as they are in the present.
- Devote time with your child to assist them with understanding new concepts, skills, and goals. Pay attention to and compliment their progress! With younger children, this might look like expressing feelings of admiration for something that they might have learned, like riding a bicycle or painting a beautiful picture from scratch! It might be taking time to support older children by being present at soccer games, helping them rehearse for choir/theatre performances, or involving yourself in things that your child values and holds importance in their life.
- Celebrate accomplishments and victories, no matter how small. Don’t overlook when they’ve accomplished something – if you model the behavior that each victory matters to you, their own victories will matter to them just the same.
- Keep trophies/souvenirs/special items of your child’s progress or success. You can go over them with your child and discuss the memories and goals they have accomplished along the way.
How We Foster Your Child’s Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence at The Nest Schools
At The Nest Schools, our passion is to support children as they develop new skills, tackle new concepts, and grow into their own person!
In our Art of Living Program, lesson plans revolve around teaching responsibility, skills, and healthy communication with others. From taking care of our pets to having a healthy conversation with a friend, we grow more confident each day together in ourselves as friends, family members, and community members.