Look at Me! I can do it!
Support your child’s accomplishments with positive reinforcement
- Acknowledge your children’s accomplishments. Let your children know that you recognize and value the new things (even the little things) they have learned to do. Be generous with your praise for real effort or accomplishment; if you make a big deal out of everything they do, they will not have a yardstick by which to measure their own growth.
- Allow your children to do some things by themselves. Independent acts allow children to feel their own strengths and capabilities. Independence also helps them develop the skills to solve problems and make good decisions.
- Put a positive expression on your face! Your reactions may affect how your children feel about themselves. A happy face and other positive expressions (e.g., tone of voice, body language) will help your children feel they are worth your time and attention.
- Take inventory of your children’s strengths and weaknesses. Monitor your children’s activities closely to see what they are good at doing and what needs more work. Place your children in activities in which you know they will succeed to ensure a boost to their self-esteem. Success in one or more areas will give your children the courage and willingness to tackle more difficult skills.
- Beware of making comparisons. When your children are performing a task or involved in an activity, encourage them to do better than they did before, NOT better than someone else! Children develop at different rates; as a parent, make sure you do not compare one child to his or her siblings or friends. Such comparisons undermine the child’s self-esteem.
- Let your children choose some of their activities. More than likely, if your children enjoy a particular activity, they will be more likely to spend more time at it, thereby increasing the capacity to learn from it and improve. Increased learning boosts children’s sense of self-worth.