It’s something we all have but always strive to improve. You can’t buy it on Amazon or even at Target. What is it? It’s self-esteem. Self-esteem can be defined as a realistic respect or a favorable impression of oneself. It communicates how we feel about ourselves and our behavior exemplifies those feelings. Self- esteem is an important part of our identity, whether as a mother, father, employee, or athlete. We have all seen those athletes at that big moment of their race or meet, and blow their chance because they lacked a healthy self-esteem.

Not only is it important to have as an adult, it is imperative we cultivate our children’s self-esteem as well. In the world we live in, facilitating that development can give them that extra push they need to figure out a difficult situation, ace that test, make new friends, or try out for the baseball team.

How do you do that exactly? The first place to look is in the mirror. Show them your positive and healthy self- views. No you don’t have to be Pollyanna, but make comments about yourself in front of your children whether it’s, “I’m so proud I stuck to my training and finished that race! I’m so glad you could be there to cheer mommy on!” or “I gave my speech today at work and did great!”

Those with high self-esteem will be able to:

 Be more independent

 Take on responsibility

 Have pride for accomplishment

 Better able to deal with frustration

 Try new activities/tasks

 Help others

Those with low self-esteem may:

 Avoid trying new things

 Feel unwanted

 Be influenced easily by peers

 Blame others for their difficulties

What else can you do to cultivate a healthy self-esteem?

 Acknowledge and don’t criticize their emotions. Help them work through experiences when they do not understand how they are feeling.

 Teach them to set small goals that are age and skill level appropriate. Praise them for their small accomplishment and when they reach that goal.

 Use descriptive praise. Be specific. “I really like the way you put away all your toys. You found the right spot for each thing!”

 Help your child to think of alternative solutions versus only one outcome.

 Let them independently complete chores around the house, such as vacuuming, helping make dinner or picking out their clothes for the day.

 Consider putting their clothes on the lower rack in their closet or the lowest drawer in their dresser so they can pick their own outfit out.

 Coach rather than control the situation. Do things with your child, not for them. Perfection is not the goal.

 Get down on their level… even Prince William does it! This becomes active listening and helps children feel as though what they are saying really matter.

 Let your children make decisions within boundaries.

Every child is different, and you know what's best for your child! Their self-esteem starts with you.

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