Every parent’s wish is that their child will grow up to value themselves and be comfortable making decisions, handling difficult obstacles and asserting themselves in the world we live in. This all starts with them feeling loved and treasured by those closest to them. So begin preparing your child to have a place in the world and ensure that they are well-adjusted and confident to take on life’s challenging tasks.The tips below will help you establish a trust with your child and build your child's self esteem to create an environment where they feel comfortable growing into their own world.
1. Share your worlds.
Take a few minutes every day to give your child your full attention. Share with them your knowledge, passions and wisdom. Discuss family roots, traditions and stories about relatives that they will enjoy. Talk yourself up occasionally so that they can see you take pride in your achievements.
Let them share with you their opinion whenever possible throughout the day to encourage him or her to think for themselves. Simple questions; what to do for the weekend, what to wear the next day when putting out their clothes and even more difficult questions you may be contemplating yourself.
2. Put yourself in their shoes.
It’s a big world and as adults we are still learning. Be kind and patient with their difficulties (shoe tying, potty training, etc.) and mention the fact that everyone makes mistakes, they are learning moments.
As your child progresses through the years, reminisce with them by pulling out older pictures, art work and school work to show them how far they have come.
Respect their individual attributes and let them lead in situations that may be new to them (introductions, visits, places, surroundings, etc.)
Although you may not always agree with them or deem their behavior unacceptable, let them know that you understand their feelings and that sometimes people feel differently than one another.
3. Be consistent.
Adults, as well as children, are more comfortable in situations where they know what to expect. If you follow-through on what you say, especially with punishments and rewards your child will feel secure knowing that you are in control and they can depend on you.
4. Use direct rewards and reprimands.
“Good boy”, “Bad boy” and “misbehaving” all become construed as time goes on for children. Instead of telling your child they are “bad”, let them know that their specific action was unacceptable and what their punishment will be.
Specify your praise by directly acknowledging what it is that he or she has done that was great. To hear “Great job” throughout the day is nice, but to hear specific examples like “You put away your toys nicely”, or “The way you played with your cousins today and shared your toys was very nice” will encourage that behavior in the future.
Avoid the “est”. Although it is hard to not use encouraging words like “best”, “greatest”, “smartest” and “cutest”, children who are accustomed to being the “est” will then feel pressured to live up to expectations of being perfect.
5. Building strategies for tough situations.
There will be times that your child struggles and you can not be there to help them. When something bothers your child that could be a reoccurring event, try discussing your child’s reaction and coming up with a strategy to solve the problem before taking matters into your own hands. This is important for peer interaction as they get older.
Role-play new or presumably challenging situations with him or her prior to situations occurring in order to build confidence and comfort of what to expect. (See article: My First Trip to the Library)
6. Stay Positive.
Expose your child to unique environments and people while you discuss the positives of each experience. This will help them to come to the ultimate conclusion that there is no one in the world like him or her. After all, these are your thoughts exactly.