In young babies, self-esteem first develops through the quality of the care and affection they receive from their parents.
25. Name your child’s qualities
A child becomes aware of her personal value through the eyes of the people who are most important to her—her parents. When you praise her qualities, you boost her self-confidence, and that helps her understand herself better.
26. Show her genuine warmth
Showing your child affection and letting her know she’s important to you increases her sense of security and attachment. Geneviève, for example, always finds ways to give lots of affection to her 3 children, Chloé, 18 months, Nathan, 5 years, and Benjamin, 9 years. “I run my hand through their hair when they’re near me or caress their shoulder when they explain or show something to me,” she says.
27. Tell your child you’re proud of her
When you tell your child how proud you are of her when she shows you something she can do well, she feels proud and becomes aware of her strengths and abilities. “Before going to bed at night, we discuss what we liked most about our day. We take a moment alone together to talk about what made us feel good and happy,” says Magalie, mother to 5-year-old Mathis and 8-year-old Mélodie.
How do you build self-esteem?
A child’s self-esteem takes root in her first relationship of attachment to somebody, through how that person sees her. “When a child feels she’s loved unconditionally, regardless of her behaviour, abilities or performance, she understands that she has value as a person. She can then hope to be loved by others and have trustworthy relationships with them,” explains Germain Duclos, psychoeducator, remedial teacher and author of several books on child development. He adds that in young babies, self-esteem first develops through the quality of the care and affection they receive from their parents. Washing your baby, rocking her and tickling her are therefore little things you do quite naturally that go a long way in making her feel loved.
28. Look at or read a book your child likes with her
Choosing a book your child enjoys and reading it together strengthens your bond. Moreover, your child will feel important to you because she has your full attention throughout this time you spend together. You can also create opportunities for her to take pride in small successes by asking her to point out certain objects or characters (if she’s a toddler) or to name them (if she’s a preschooler). This is a great way to make her feel important!
29. Follow her pace
Each child is unique. By letting your child try to do things by herself without demanding that everything be perfect the first time around (e.g.: eating, pouring a glass of milk, getting dressed), you are respecting her learning pace. She’ll therefore be more open to trying again to get it right. “I let my 18-month-old daughter, Chloé, eat her yogurt or stewed fruits on her own, even if I know she’s going to get some all over her face. I tell her that she’s really good for eating her yogurt on her own,” says Geneviève, also mother to 5-year-old Nathan and 9-year-old Benjamin.
30. Listen attentively to your child when she tells you something
Being available for your child, taking the time to look her in the eyes and to listen carefully to what she’s telling you reinforces her conviction that she’s important to you. It also encourages her to talk to you more.
Your child’s self-esteem develops through the warm and loving relationship you build with her.
Encourage your child and acknowledge her little achievements and efforts every day.
Tell your child you’ve noticed her accomplishments and positive actions, and name them for her.
Feel free to repeat often how much you love her and how happy you are to be her parent!