Self-esteem is learned not inherited! Here are some ways to help children develop positive self-esteem.
Children learn beliefs and attitudes that affect their self-esteem from the time they are born. Self-esteem is a measure of how valuable we feel.
- Help children develop a well-rounded self-concept that is based upon their unique interests, abilities, talents, and skills.
- Encourage learning and participation in a variety of areas including school, sports or physical activity, personal interests, hobbies and clubs, community service and relationships.
- Focus on children's positive attributes, provide positive feedback and encouragement and show that you have confidence in them.
Build a Healthy Body Image
Body image is how you see or picture yourself and how you feel others see you. Having a healthy body image involves having a healthy attitude towards your body and accepting who you are.
- Set a good example for children by accepting and valuing your own body and taking good care of yourself by eating well and being physically active.
- Explain the physical changes they can expect as their bodies go through puberty. Position these changes as positive and healthy.
- Praise children for the positive things they say and do.
Understand the Link between Self-Esteem and Body Image
Keep in mind that self-esteem and body image are closely linked:
- People who have positive self-esteem tend to have a healthy body image.
- People who lack self-esteem tend to have a poor body image.
Raise Media Awareness
Being aware of unrealistic media images can make a difference in how children feel about their bodies and their abilities and therefore how they view themselves and others.
- Discuss the unrealistic and unhealthy nature of some media images.
- Let children know it is unhealthy to be extremely thin or too muscular like some images they may see.
People who learn to value the differences among us are more likely to value themselves for who they are.
- Encourage children to accept, appreciate and respect differences in people's appearances and abilities.
- Recognize that healthy bodies come in different shapes and sizes, with different abilities.
- Make sure children understand that they will naturally grow and develop at very different rates.