Suzanne Gelb Ph.D., JD

All Grown Up

School's Out: Help Your Child Build Self-Esteem This Summer

10 simple ways to raise kids who can feel good about themselves.

Posted May 03, 2018

Beach days. Picnics. Concerts. Popsicles! There’s so much to savor and do during these precious summer months. Why not add “build self-esteem” to the list?

Consider these 10 simple ways to starting doing it:

1.   Let your child pick a fun family activity for the weekend. Depending on their age, you may need to give them a few choices. Praise them for making a great choice.

2.   Encourage your child to try a new activity (like a new sport, music lessons or dance). Tell your child, “Whatever you choose to do, I know that you’ll give it your all and do your very best.”

3.   Take advantage of long walks outside (or drives to the beach) to hold conversations about self-esteem. Remind your child, “Being good at dance or winning a soccer game is great, but I will always love you, no matter what. You will always be loved, just for being you.”

4.   Learn something new together — like the name of a plant that you spotted on a walk, or the history of your hometown. Say to your child, “It’s wonderful to be curious! You’re so smart. You learn new things so quickly.”

5.   Give up one of your favorite items for a day (like your cell phone or coffee, for example). Have your child do the same (with an iPad perhaps, or a stuffed animal). Explain that our favorite items can be useful and fun, but that it’s important to remember that we can still be happy, without them.

6.   Give your child a new chore or responsibility at home. Pick one that you think they’ll excel at. When they’re done, praise them for an excellent job.

7.   If your child says self-critical things (like “I’m stupid” or “I suck at that game”), instead of trying to fix it right away (“No, you’re not”), ask: “Why do you feel that way?” Let your child explain, and you’ll most likely be better able to help.

8.   Have your child create a gift or write a card for a sick or underprivileged child, or an elderly neighbor or relative. Remind them: “Doing things to help other people feels good.”

9.   Start an “I Believe In Me” journal — and get a journal for your child, as well. Every night, write down a few positive things that you did that day, and encourage your child to do the same. Once a week, you can read through the “highlights of the week,” together!

10.   Laugh with your children. Make your home a happy, safe and encouraging place … where “being you” is a good thing to be!
 

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