Whether it’s during class, after school care or daycare, self-esteem issues are a constant struggle for many children. Social interactions and pressures are a lot for many kids, and even on an individual level, many children have trouble with basic confidence and pride in themselves.
At Smart Kids Development Center, our programs are designed to allow your children to grow and develop in positive, stress-free environments – and self-esteem is a big topic for us. Here are a few of the most common tactics we like to employ for helping organically build confidence in kids.
It may seem like the right move in moments of stress or sadness, but overdoing it does more harm than good. Over-praising lowers the bar for success in kids, and gives them an expectation of praise for even minimal accomplishments. Kids start thinking they can be perfect all the time, which sets up an impossible standard they can never maintain.
Children who have no concept of someone else being better at something than they are could be in for a rude awakening down the line. Offer praise when it’s appropriate, but look at whether you’re doing this too judiciously if your child struggles with self-esteem issues.
A big part of self-esteem is confidence gained through failure, even if this failure might cause momentary bits of negativity. Allow kids to make their own choices, even if you know they might run into a roadblock with some of them – allowing them to make their own mistakes and take their own risks will give them personal ownership. Sheltering them too much from potential negativity will leave them unprepared for the unavoidable moments in life where this negativity will be present no matter what you do.
Encourage your children to take on their own interests, and more importantly, to follow through completely when they do. If they want to join the soccer team, for instance, they commit to playing the full season even if things don’t go perfectly right out of the gate. The feeling of accomplishment that comes with seeing something through is a great benefit to mental health and self-esteem.
Rather than a detriment to your child’s self-esteem, failures are a great opportunity to build it up. Make sure they know you still love them no matter what, but then use the mistake as a constructive chance to point out what they could have done differently. When you see them applying these lessons later on, that’s the time for praise that will reinforce their sense of accomplishment in a task they previously struggled with.
Want to learn more about our behavioral techniques, or any other element of our developmental services? The friendly educators at Smart Kids Development Center are happy to tell you more.