In today's visual-driven world, it's easy for kids to pick up on their supposed "shortcomings". More than ever, parents need to be aware of how their children feel, and what they can do to help make their kids feel better if they have low self-esteem.
Here's a list of 10 things that you can do right now to help improve your child's self-esteem:
1. Tell them what you love about them (often)
Everyone knows that kids need to hear you say that you love them. Some people don't feel the need to say the words "I love you" because they feel as if they show their love through their actions, but this is simply not enough for children. Not only do kids need to hear you say "I love you," but they also need to hear you say what it is that you love about them. Make sure they know that you notice all of their amazing qualities.
2. Don't nitpick
It's our job as parents to help correct bad behaviors in our children. But if you are constantly pointing out your child's flaws, that's all that they will notice about themselves, too. Let the small stuff go and always highlight the good in your child.
3. Encourage their talents
Kids need to have something to be passionate about to feel good about themselves. Let them find something they love and then be endlessly supportive of their endeavors. Like this amazing kid dancer, you never know where their talents may take them.
4. Help them have a healthy lifestyle
Help your children to feel good emotionally by feeling good physically. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables and taking time to exercise will help improve your child's mood and give them much more energy to learn, work hard and love the things they do.
5. Take care of their hygiene
Trying to get children to brush their teeth or their hair is often a battle parents don't want to fight. However, neglecting things like oral health can have serious consequences for a child's well-being and self-esteem later in life. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends orthodontic screening and treatment for children as early as seven years old.
6. Listen to their concerns
Kids need to know that you care about what is bothering them in their lives. If they feel like they can't talk to you, they can believe that no one cares about their problems. This can lead to emotional problems and lower self-esteem as they grow into young adults.
You might feel like you are the authority figure in the relationship, making it seem like you shouldn't have to apologize, but that's not the case. Parents have great opportunities to be the shining example to their children, teaching them how to act and what to do should they ever find themselves in a similar situation.
Also, with apologies comes respect. A relationship of love and respect in the early stages of a child's life helps them grow into loving and respectful adults.
8. Treat them with respect
While you and your child are not peers, that doesn't mean that kids are less-deserving of the respect you ask of them. If you respect them, they in turn will respect you. A respected child will have higher self-esteem than a child who isn't respected.
9. Spend quality time with them
Your children need to know that they are a priority in your busy life. They need to know they are important enough for you to slow down and play with them. Make sure to set aside time every day to spend with your kids without distractions. Perhaps even make a weekly plan to do one-on-one activities that your child will remember for years.
10. Invest in their hobbies
If you treat you child's hobbies as though they are inadequate or dumb, they will start to feel like they are stupid too for liking the things that they like. If you value their hobbies, they will feel valued and validated in spending time on them.
While it is hard for kids to feel good about themselves in today's world, if you are vigilant in taking care of their physical, mental, and emotional needs, they will learn their worth early on in life. People who feel confident are people who are more motivated and able to achieve more things throughout their entire lives.