How to Help Your Children Develop Good Self-Esteem
Beyond providing food, clothing, shelter and a good education, how do parents raise children who are happy, healthy, and well adjusted? This article features tips on how to model healthy habits that will help your kids to develop good self-esteem.
Above all else, most parents want their children to grow up feeling good about themselves. They want their children to go on to live happy, healthy, and productive lives.
This article features strategies to help your children develop positive self-esteem by making healthy choices, staying active and being aware of the negative stereotypes that can harm their self-images.
Be a positive role model. Your job as a parent and positive role model is to create a healthy set of norms for your children to grow up around. If you practice good self-care habits, you'll be teaching your children to take care of and appreciate the body they were born with. Good self-care habits include:.
- Practicing healthy hygiene habits
- Being physically active each day
- Eating nutritious snacks instead of junk food
- Drinking plenty of water every day
- Maintaining good sleep habits
- Eating a nutritious breakfast every morning
Prepare healthy meals and snacks together. Keep nutritious, unprocessed snacks available for your children. Guide them in the selection and preparation of these snacks so that as they get older, they can take responsibility for the snacking choices they make between meals, at home and on the go. Another way to positively influence your children’s eating habits is to plan and prepare at least one family meal together each week. Talk about the ingredients and their nutritional value. Share any memories or generational stories you have about the meal you are preparing. Make it a fun opportunity to strengthen family bonds.
Avoid outward negative self-talk. How you talk about yourself and your body in front of your children can influence how they perceive themselves. Try to talk about the things that you like most about yourself: “I love my red curly hair! It makes me stand out in a crowd!”
Talk about your inner strengths, talents and capabilities. “Wow, I stood up in front of 300 people today and gave an amazing presentation. And I learned how good I am at public speaking!” By talking about yourself in positive ways, you’ll be teaching your children that it’s normal to talk proudly about their own positive traits, skills and abilities.
Head to the great outdoors together. Going outside and having fun together playing games will teach your children about the value of spending their free time being physically active. It will also show them the positive benefits that outdoor activity can have on their moods by reducing stress and increasing their levels of the happy hormone, serotonin.
Teach your child about unhealthy images in the media. Mainstream media is in the business of perpetuating unhealthy ideas about what it means to be a girl or a boy, a man or a woman. Educate children, at an age-appropriate level, about harmful and unrealistic images in magazines and on television. Talk about how images on TV and in advertising can create harmful prejudices about weight, skin color, race, gender, sexuality, class and physical and mental ability.
There are many guides and resources available to help you open up discussions about the influence of media on self-esteem and self-image. Organizations such as MediaLiteracy.com and the Center for Media Literacy offer downloadable resources, teaching tools and activities.
Your children's positive self-esteem starts with you. Mahatma Gandhi said, "We must be the change we want to see in the world."
When it comes to the health and well-being of your children, this sage wisdom applies beautifully. By being a positive role model, and living the healthy, active life that you want for your children, you can be a powerful influence in shaping and developing their self-esteem in wonderfully positive ways.
Confident children tend to be those who have been given the opportunity for balance of freedom and boundaries, a challenge for any parent. Striking the right balance takes time, experience, and patience. -- Dr. Jenn Berman, author of The A to Z Guide to Raising Happy Confident Children
What is your favorite esteem-building activity to do with your kids?
© 2013 Sadie Holloway