Self esteem really means our self-perception, how we see ourselves and feel about ourselves and it's how we 'define' who we are. This in turn influences our behaviour and affects our attitude and emotions.
As a parent, we are in the best position to affect a child's self esteem. Here are 5 easy ways to build strong self esteem:
1. Challenge negative self talk - whenever you hear your child 'put themselves down' bring it to their attention and help them think of something positive to say about themselves. If they say "I'm so ugly!" challenge it with "You have beautiful hair and your eyes are stunning and I love your gorgeous smile!"
2. Give accurate feedback - sometimes children can develop irrational beliefs about themselves or their ability. You can act as a mirror and keep things in proportion. If they say "I'm the worst person in the whole school at maths" you can help them see that "You are good at maths - it's just this page on fractions that you're struggling with. Let's learn how to do it together!"
3. Praise the effort, not just the achievement - If your child doesn't do well at something, they look to you to know that they are still loved. It's really helpful to voice your encouragement with something like "I know you're disappointed that you didn't come first in your race, but I'm so proud of you for trying so hard."
4. Notice your own language - be aware of your own self esteem and how you communicate it. You are your child's role model. Change your own negative self talk when you catch yourself saying things like "That's me all over, so clumsy" or "I can't believe I'm so stupid" or "It doesn't matter, it's only me, it's not important"
5. Be affectionate - give them hugs and cuddles 'just because' be spontaneous and surprise them or praise them without there being a reason. This goes such a long way to letting them know they are loved and accepted exactly as they are. And this will have an amazing effect on building their self esteem.