Finding The Right Methods to Help Lift a Child’s Self-Esteem

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Education

It doesn’t take long for children to develop good or bad feelings about themselves. A just-published study by researchers at the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences concluded that children have strong positive or negative self-esteem by age 5. Great news for those who feel positive; not so good for those who suffer from a more negative personal view. But parents know that even well-adjusted children can have moments of doubt about their appearance, their intelligence or their ability to make friends.

“Who hasn’t felt like less than adequate at some point in our lives,” says Cathy Miller, a former foster mother who now serves as national spokeswoman for the UglySnuglies ( line of educational stuffed animals that help children discover they don’t have to be perfect to be loved. Whether it’s the successful feeling that comes from learning to read or the fears that are associated with being bullied at recess, children experience numerous positive and negative events that play a role in making them feel better or worse about themselves. There are a number of ways adults can help children establish a positive self-esteem, Miller says, such as:

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Education

  • Praise them. Make sure when children do something well that you praise them for their good work. This can help their confidence and encourage them to do more.
  • Let them help. Even a preschooler can do a few simple chores around the house, such as carrying their dirty clothes to the hamper or picking up their toys.
  • Allow them to make choices. Does the child need a new pair of shoes? Are there two possibilities for dinner this evening? Letting a child make choices, when appropriate, can make them feel more self-reliant and valued.

Confidence is also important in improving self-esteem. That’s where the educational aspects of toys come in, Miller says, whether it’s the traditional Lincoln Logs that help stimulate children’s creativity, chemistry sets that allow them to experiment, or board games that teach them how to use strategy.

About Cathy Miller

Cathy Miller, a former foster mother, serves as national spokeswoman for the UglySnuglies ( line of educational stuffed animals.

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