A five-year-old will try their hand at many things. There will be times when they fail and try again. Sometimes they succeed even at the first attempt. Be aware that your child will form a self- perceptions based on these attempts and their capabilities, as well as their interactions with the peer group.
That is why your involvement is necessary for them to form an accurate self- perceptions about themselves and hence develop a healthy self- esteem. Self –esteem makes for a positive and happy child.
Do keep the following in mind:
- Do not focus on one area: If your child is doing well at school, do not emphasize too much on their academic brilliance. It will give them a feeling that their value stems from test scores.
- Self-esteem tends to fluctuate: With new experiences and new perceptions as they grow, their self-esteem will tend to fluctuate. Be alert to these changes and stop any unhealthy trend that you might notice. Just because they did not master skipping at the first go is enough to make them disappointed. Be encouraging and assist them if necessary. The next time it might be a low score on a spelling test.
- Be careful of what you say: If your child has failed to make the mark to in an activity, help them get over the disappointment. Use humour and warmth to help them learn about themselves. Shift the focus to the effort and completion of the task and not the outcome.
- Match the goal to the capabilities: Your child has their strong points. Focus and nurture these traits. Encourage them to go beyond their comfort zones in other areas. Praise their efforts whenever they do so. Remember “try harder next time” does not work in all situations.
- Be a role model: Remember that you child is watching you. Let them know that you have limitations but you also work on them. Being a model parent is about being self-assured and balanced in your outlook. Your child will mirror your attitude. If you are excessively critical of self, your child will be harsh on themselves.
- Give positive and accurate feedback: Excessive praise leads to self-glorification and unreal expectations of your child from themselves. Instead, try to give a rational feedback. Direct their attention to the positives they can work with. The more truthful your feedback, the more they learn to trust you.
- Do not let them make generalizations: Your child should know that you are proud of them. Do not let them associate being average at something as being “not good”. If they are not good at throwing a ball, it does not make them “bad at sports”. If they struggle with spelling, it is not akin to “being bad at studies”. Tell them that they remain special to you.
A healthy self-esteem is an armour that works against all challenges and conflicts that your child faces. Children who develop a healthy self-esteem grow up to be optimistic and cheerful adults.