Every parent understands the importance of children feeling good about themselves.
At Little Sunshine’s Playhouse & Preschool®, we understand that too! Throughout the month of August, our I Am Special/All About Me lesson theme includes lots of fun activities to promote self-confidence in preschoolers.
Your child’s sense of self begins forming very early in life, and self-esteem is already well developed by age 5. Almost from the beginning, kids have big questions about themselves like “Who am I?” and “What is my place in this world?”
Developing self-confidence promotes better academic performance and a willingness to try again after a mistake. It improves your child’s quality of life at home, at school and in relationships with other people.
Let’s take a look at four ways you can boost your child’s self-confidence!
#1: Promote Healthy Relationships
Relationships already form a key component of our Reggio Emilia-inspired curriculum at Little Sunshines’ Playhouse®.
But did you know relationships also play a role in self-esteem? Researchers have found that kids feel better about themselves when parents show an interest in children’s activities, share in positive achievements and remind kids that they are loved and valued.
Here are more ways to promote self-confidence through relationships:
- Spend plenty of quality one-on-one time with your child.
- Engage in pleasant activities together that your child enjoys — and let them choose the activity sometimes!
- Listen to your child. Give them a chance to tell you how they feel, what they like to do and if they need your help.
- Kindness builds confidence! Teach your child to share toys with siblings and playmates. Provide age-appropriate opportunities to lend a hand around the house or in the community. Your child will learn that when we are kind to others, we feel better about ourselves.
#2: Let Your Child Try New Things
New activities develop children’s confidence in their ability to learn and a willingness to persist when a task becomes challenging.
- Focus on strengths. When your child learns to recite the alphabet, or brings home an original art project from preschool, offer praise.
- Don’t do everything for your child. It takes time to learn to fasten buttons and tie shoelaces, so allow plenty of time for independent practice!
- But do offer help when needed. If your child gets frustrated or asks for help, you might offer a simple demonstration. For example, show how you hold a fork, then let your child try to copy you. And remember, mistakes are okay!
- Assign age-appropriate duties. Not only does helpfulness build relationships, it also teaches new skills. Young kids feel a sense of pride when they get to help set the table or fold clothes.
- Include physical activity. Exercise offers lots of benefits for children, and it can also boost their self-confidence! One review of 25 studies across 14 countries found that physical activity had a positive effect on kids’ feelings of self-worth.
#3: Encourage Decision-Making
Even in infancy, children need to begin making choices for themselves.
One study of 360 children found that the ability to make decisions predicted more positive self-esteem. There are lots of ways you can encourage this:
- Want your kids to eat their veggies? Offer 2-3 alternatives and let them choose one.
- When getting ready for school, pull out two shirts and ask which one your child would like to wear.
- Present a few different books at bedtime and ask which story your child would like to read before going to sleep.
#4: Use Mistakes as a Chance to Learn
Everyone makes mistakes, no matter how old they are. Even grown-ups will experience a few hiccups when trying out a new gadget or learning a second language.
Teach your child that failure is a chance to learn and get better. Here are some ways to use mistakes to build self-confidence:
- Praise effort, not just ability. If your child is learning how to throw a ball, for example, say “Wow, you’re really working hard at that!” and encourage them to keep practicing.
- Let your child know that nobody is perfect. Offer reassurance if they spill a drink or get the wrong answer on a math question. Share a story of a mistake you made and how it helped you get better at something.
- Avoid harsh criticism. Don’t say things like “You’re lazy” or “You’re dumb.” Instead, correct your child by showing what to do next time.
- Avoid comparisons. Never say “Why can’t you sit still like your brother?” Remember, every child is unique. Whether it’s learning appropriate social skills or how to spell new words, offer gentle guidance that addresses your child’s specific needs and challenges.
At Little Sunshine’s Playhouse®, our curriculum promotes the development of the whole child — academic, physical, social and emotional. It’s exciting to watch preschoolers gain confidence as they engage in hands-on learning activities across a variety of subjects.
If you’d like to learn more about how Little Sunshine’s Playhouse® can support your child’s development, contact a location near you today!
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