Building Confidence and Self-Esteem Early
You Like Me, I Like Me. Ways for parents to build children’s self-esteem.
What You Need To Know
In First Grade, children will start to understand who they are. They will also begin to recognize the feelings of others, and grasp how other people see them. Self-understanding combines these two concepts: developing confidence from the way in which you know yourself, and building self-esteem from understanding how others see you.
How You Can Help
- Work on social skills. Being able to navigate relationships with peers and groups is vital for teaching independence and confidence. Give your child chances to interact with peers. If a play-date ends in tears, use the opportunity to talk about how to build friendships, contribute to conversations, or share. “That looks fun, can I have a turn next?”
- Praise. Reinforcing good behavior will not only reduce conflict, but also give your first grader a positive sense of themselves. “I enjoy seeing you playing with the dog, Fernanda. It’s lovely that you’re so gentle and caring with him.” Conjuring visual images will help your child to see and understand themselves in the same positive way.
- Love. A child who knows that they are loved, will feel secure and ready to face the world and its challenges in an open and optimistic way. Children denied love or rejected learn the opposite – to treat the outside world with fear and suspicion. “I love you and I want you to have a great day today.” Send your first grader a message as you leave him or her at the school gates, and give their self-esteem a little energy boost for the day ahead.
For more information on the development of self-understanding in middle childhood, please see the full article:
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