Developing a healthy and positive sense of self is one of the most important areas of a child’s developmental growth. There are a range of simple, yet very effective strategies you can adopt to nurture and build your child's self-esteem.
1. Praise them
It’s important to offer children a considerable amount of praise, but make sure it’s genuine. Avoid offering empty praise frequently. Rather, you should compliment positive behaviour and praise specific actions.
2. Listen to your child
Spend regular one-on-one time with your child to ask about their day and how they’re feeling. This shows children that their thoughts, feelings and opinions matter – enhancing their self-worth.
3. Promote physical activity
Leading an active lifestyle is important for mental health, and individuals who exercise regularly are shown to have higher levels of self-esteem. This can be as simple as going for a walk with your child or encouraging their involvement in a sporting activity.
4. Choose your words carefully
Consistently criticising a child will have negative consequences and contributes to low self-esteem. Take care never to belittle or undermine a child’s feelings or call them names.
5. Assign children tasks or jobs around the house
This could be making their bed each day, folding washing or taking the rubbish out. Giving your child a sense of responsibility adds to their sense of sufficiency and usefulness.
6. Provide opportunities for them to succeed
Identify your child’s areas of interest and talent by encouraging them to try a range of activities. Allowing children to pursue a hobby or area of study and having them work towards something they enjoy, will enhance their self-confidence and boost self-esteem.
7. Build your child’s sense of resilience by helping them cope with failure
If your child fails an exam or doesn’t place in a sporting event, discuss the positives of the situation with your child. Reinforce the notion that winning isn’t everything. Similarly, take care not to praise your child only when they succeed.
8. Celebrate your child’s quirks
Identifying and complimenting your child’s individualism and personality traits is one of the most effective ways to cultivate high self-esteem. Avoid comparing your child to their siblings or friends and help them appreciate what makes them uniquely special.
For over a century, we have guided boys to grow in mind, body and spirit and we know what boys need to truly flourish and succeed. To stay in touch with school news and to learn more about educating boys, sign up to our enewsletter.