Pam Watland is married to illustrator Dave Watland and is part of the creative inspiration behind Funkland World.
As parents, grandparents and child care providers, we long for the children we care for to grow into healthy individuals who possess confidence in who they are and what they can offer to others. How do we promote and guide this kind of balanced growth in our little ones? How can we, as the adults in their lives, model positive self worth and esteem? Perhaps some of my thoughts will inspire you to invest some time considering these questions.
Encouragement is one way that we can aid our child’s self esteem and can be delivered in many forms. Spoken words and unspoken gestures can reinforce a child’s sense of confidence in their ideas and skills. If a child is a working on refining a particular skill, we can support that growth with authentic praise in their efforts and increasing ability. However, even when our child’s efforts do not reap increased skill and competency, we can support their positive growth. Recognizing that failure is part of growing helps us to encourage a child’s efforts, even if the take away lesson is “that didn’t work, I will try something different next time.” Allowing children to make mistakes helps them develop resilience and independence.
Taking a look at our responses to our own talents, skills and abilities (or lack of them) is also a route to enhances our child’s self esteem. If we model behaviour that is positive and authentic, we can be an example to our children of how trying new things can open up options for creative directions and possibilities. We are never too old to learn something new and no matter how old we are, sometimes trying something new presents challenges that help us grow in various ways.
No matter how we encourage and mentor our children, the common foundational bedrock to enhance their self esteem is that we offer them unconditional love. Whether they experience success or failure, in order for them to grow strong and confident, they know they are loved for who they are and that we are committed to them. Spending time with them discussing new ideas and trying new things can result in increased capacity. Supporting their dreams and aspirations helps them to face life’s challenges, whether they are 5 or 15.
Reading books with characters who inspire us by their perseverance, can be both fun and functional. If you haven’t already, check out Brenda the Ballerina Polar Bear, her confident pursuit of her dreams reminds us that “when you do what you love, it makes you a star.”
Funkland World…where everyone is possible