5 more ways to build a child’s self-esteem

“Every single minute matters, every single child matters, every single childhood matters.”
Kailash Satyarthi

Self-esteem is often described as feeling loved and, at the same time, capable. Patterns of how a child thinks about herself start very early in life. Regardless of the age of the child, though, everyone can have an impact on a child forming a positive sense of self.

Here are 5 ideas that anyone can follow to enhance a child’s sense of value and confidence:

  1. Encourage the child’s interests. Help him develop hobbies and leisure activities that he enjoys. Play and other activities initiated by the child rather than an adult generally will hold the child’s attention longer, and generate more learning.
  2. Give undistracted attention. As much as possible, temporarily set aside whatever you’re working on and give the child your full attention when she talks with you.
  3. Demonstrate a willingness to take reasonable risks. Try something new with the child. Or, let him teach you Focus on enjoying the process of doing an activity together, rather than on achieving a perfect result.
  4. Emphasize character. Acknowledge and compliment the child’s character more frequently than you compliment appearance or innate qualities. Instead of praising a child’s natural athletic ability, for example, comment on her good sportsmanship or great teamwork.
  5. Promote resilience. Providing feedback when the child handles disappointment or frustration appropriately teaches the child that mistakes or failures are just a part of life, and not indications that he is unlovable or incapable.

Self-esteem and confidence are believed to lead to the ability to resist at-risk behaviors and to engage in positive, pro-social behaviors. Conveying that you believe in the child and value him as a person will foster his confidence and sense of competence. Those are attributes that will serve any child well as they progress through life.