Parents need to fill a child’s bucket of self-esteem so high that the rest of the world can’t poke enough holes in it to drain it dry. – Alvin Price

A study published in 2016 edition of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology finds that children’s self-esteem is already established by the age of five. This is why it is important to start developing children positive view of self early on, before they start attending kindergarten. From our point of view, the challenges children face are rather easy, but try to remember your first day at school, the insecurities about making new friends, the fear that you will do something wrong on the gym class, etc. Self-confidence is their tool for coming out as winners from those situations, and our task as parents is to provide them with that tool.

How to Support Children's Self-Esteem

Spend Time with Them

In today’s hasty life, it is easy to become torn between your career, family and sanity, but it is very important to determine your priorities. Children always come first, and it is something you already know, but it does not hurt to remind you that several hours of quality time a day is a must. This way, your kids will learn the joy of being together and you will be able to show them just how much they matter to you. Especially in their first years, parents are their idols, the window through which they watch and experience the world. Knowing that they are equally important to you is essential for their self-confidence.

Set an Example

Since you are your children’s idol, it is only natural to start from yourself when building their confidence. Your kids should bring out the best in you, and you in them – that is the most rewarding part of parenting. If you suffer from low self-esteem, first heal yourself. Putting on a fake smile is not an option, since your children can see right through it. If positive thoughts just do not stick around, seek help.

How to Support Children's Self-Esteem

Grow Their Hobbies

Children learn through play, but their attention span can be rather short. If you see some of their interests last longer than usual, encourage them to stick to it and become better in it. That, of course, does not mean pressuring them to be better than others, just the best versions of themselves. Celebrate each milestone, no matter how small it may seem. Do not force them into some hobbies they do not want (some boys are not for sports, and some girls are not for ballet), but let them experiment with various experiences instead.

Encourage Making Friends

Start introducing your children with their peers as early as you can. Interpersonal relationship and social skills impact the self-esteem much more than we could even imagine. Visit parks and playgrounds where other kids interact and make your home welcoming for your children’s friends. This way, you will be provided with a better insight in your kids’ social behaviors and see when there is a need for some serious talks.

How to Support Children's Self-Esteem

Make them Feel Important

Treat your children as individuals and value their opinions. Offer them small choices (Will you wear this or this to school today?) that will prove them you appreciate their attitude and decisions. One fun and interesting way to show them how good they are is by making a wall of accomplishment. Each child is good at something – some at spelling, some at football, etc. Hang medals, good grades, etc. on that wall and watch as your children flourish in front of you. Kids’ birthdays are amazing opportunities to put them in the spotlight and let them make their own decisions about the food, the guests, the party entertainment options, etc.

How to Support Children's Self-Esteem

Give Positive Reflections

Children’s self-image is often built on their parent’s perception of them. If your children somehow conclude that you are bored when you spend time with them (e.g. you are constantly texting), or that their behavior does not please you, they will think badly of themselves. Structure their self-awareness with positive feelings and reactions, be supportive and encouraging. Sure, sometimes a little discipline is necessary, but do not ever characterize them as bad, but their actions, while doing it.

You cannot teach your children to be confident, but you can nourish and support positive self-image in them, which will later allow them to live a happier, more successful and more fulfilled life.

Author: Tracey Clayton is a full time mom of three girls. She loves cooking, baking, sewing, spending quality time with her daughters and she’s passionate for writing. Her motto is: “Live the life you love, love the life you live.” Find her on Facebook.