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Tips on How to Raise Your Child's Self Esteem

What to do

What your child learns

  • Nurture your child with gentle touching and holding.
  • Your child gets the message "I am worthy of love" and "My body is good and feels good".

  • Set realistic expectations - a child should be allowed to work at his/her own developmental level and individual abilities.
  • Your child gets the message "I am competent".

  • Set reasonable limits - a child develops best in a predictable, dependable environment.
  • Your child learns "I can trust you and myself".

  • Affirm your child - "I like you", "I like what you said/did", "I love you".
  • Your child gets the message "I am lovable" and also decides "I can love".

  • Give honest appraisal and appreciation - Children can recognize empty praise. Recognize improvement not just performance.
  • Your child gets the message "I am capable".

  • Encourage curiosity and encourage your child to try new things.
  • Your child gets the message "I am capable" by achieving new skills.

  • Treat your child with respect and dignity, "What you think, feel, and do is important". "I value you".
  • Your child gets the message "I am important".

  • Allow your child freedom and time to think, make decisions and figure things out.
  • Your child gets the message "I can think, I am capable".

  • Acknowledge attempts and allow your child to learn from failure. Instead of "You made a mistake" try "That doesn't work". 
  • A child gets the message "I can learn, I can figure things out".

  • Accept your child's right to his/her own feelings and give guidance to appropriate expression of those feelings. Give the message "You are entitled to your feelings".
  • Your child learns "I can rely on my feelings".

  • Celebrate the uniqueness of your child with your child. Say, "You are special to me and there's nobody exactly like you". 
  • Your child learns to accept differences in his/her self and others, and gets the message "I am unique".

  • Help your child become independent and autonomous. Your child learns to be his/her own best friend.
  • Your child gets the message "I am my own person. My separateness is recognized".