Teaching Your Child Self-Love

Teaching your child self-love is a practiced behavior that parents can instill at an early age with simple strategies that can be used daily.  In this episode of Coffee with Consultants, parenting tips and tricks in the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee, mental health therapists Stephanie and Linda discuss ways parents can build up the self-esteem of children so they become resilient and confident in themselves.

(Stephanie and Linda work with social-emotional consultants for preschool-age children through The Florida Center’s early education program, Starfish Academy.)

The first step is to make a habit of communicating affirmations to the child. Linda recommends writing a nice note and placing it somewhere unexpected, like in their lunch box or on the bathroom mirror. The notes can be short and sweet, like “You’ve got this” if they are nervous about a big test or “Learning is your superpower” if they require a little boost to get them through the school day.  The same phrases can be used over and over and work for all ages. Some of the affirmations she suggests are:

  • You can do hard things
  • I believe in you
  • I’m so proud of you
  • You are loved
  • Your brain grows stronger every day
  • You have great ideas

Self Love Another beneficial habit parents can adopt is to rephrase their child’s negative statements. When they say “I can’t do it,” parents can respond with a more favorable, “You can’t do it, yet,” promoting a notion that persistence often results in achievement. Once parents replace their child’s negative thoughts with positive ones, they will start seeing a boost in confidence. Here are some commonly used phrases that can use a positive spin:

  • I can’t = I can try or I can ask for help
  • It’s too hard = This might take some time to complete
  • I can’t read = I’m learning to read
  • I’m not smart enough = This could take some practice
  • I don’t want to = I can persevere and make this fun

Finally, Stephanie and Linda advocate for teaching children how to do things for themselves, giving help only if they ask for it. If a child struggles to tie their shoes, parents should try to be patient and allow the child to practice instead of getting frustrated and completing the task for them. Sometimes building confidence is simply stepping back and allowing them the space and time to accomplish their own goals.

Teaching children to love themselves is a trait that will they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. It is sure to build their resilience and prepare them for the future in a way that encourages success. To learn more, subscribe to The Florida Center’s YouTube Channel.