• Help your child build high self esteem with simple self esteem activities - it's the greatest gift you can offer your child!
• With these really powerful free exercises you can:
It is never too early to start building high self esteem in your child. In fact, the earlier the better!
Without being aware of it, you've probably already been doing powerful self esteem activities with your baby shortly after he or she was born.
You've been doing close bonding, providing deep presence, meeting your baby's needs on many levels.
Even though these self esteem exercises of bonding and 'tuning in' to your child may seem rather intangible, such self esteem exercises are in fact some of the most important and powerful early self esteem building blocks you can help your child lay as a solid preparation and foundation for life.
You see, self esteem activities are not just 'doings' - like for instance writing down positive affirmations with your kid or talking constructively about your kid's self image.
No, self esteem exercises may also be a lot more basic.
This goes especially with infants and very young children who haven't yet mastered the language or abstract mental capacities to such a degree that they can use them as concrete self esteem tools.
In this article I will present you with powerful self esteem exercises tailored to your child as he or she climbs up the age ladder.
What you will notice about the self esteem activities is that the younger your child is, the more intuitive the self esteem exercises will be by nature and the more you will be 'leading' them.
And the other way around, the older your child is, the more you will function as a guide: You're there by your child with your presence and support while your child is trying to understand himself / herself and the world.
(If you want to learn more about yourself, you can take this
quiz for self esteem. This quiz for self esteem will not only reveal your
Enneagram personality type and you low self esteem soft spot, it will also give you unique practical parenting advice to build high self esteem in your child.)
With infants and babies we're not aiming at strengthening their sense of independence as such (even though it's a positive by-product) - we're aiming more at strengthening intimacy and closeness.
The reason for this is that before you child can enter the world equipped with strong independence, he or she needs to have been healthily dependent first.
Your child needs to feel safe and secure in your presence in order to want to fully explore the world.
No matter how old your child is:
This means that the intuitive self esteem exercises you do with your baby - or the activities of accepting and respecting your toddler - are not put aside as your child grows older.
It's still very important to practice basic intuitive self esteem activities with your older child - such as holding your kid, being present and having deep eye contact.
But the point is that, as your child grows, you can ad more reflective and linguistic activities to the intuitive ones.
As an example of this, you can take a look at these wonderful self explorative exercises my son did in this parenting course for both parents and kids.
Even though the course wasn't specifically focused on building self esteem, finding means for children to express their emotions and help them discover the different layers of their self inevitably leads to higher self esteem.
The more we know ourselves and are allowed to express it, the more at peace we are. This goes for both parents and kids.
Anyway, let's get going with the self esteem exercises!
Yes, you can already start building self esteem in your child from the moment he or she is born. Isn't that great!
What you will notice about the self esteem activities for babies is that they are very intuitive by nature.
Probably you are already pouring lots of positive self esteem into your child.
What you will be doing is basically unlimited giving in terms of attention, presence, food, comfort etc.
Your baby is all new to this world and is slowly starting to develop his or her sense of self. And the way your child feels and understands himself or herself ... is through YOU!
Yes, you are a mirror. And because your baby doesn't have a sense of self yet, most of what he or she feels is coming through you.
When your baby looks at you and you give your baby full attention back, your baby will get to feel himself or herself through that 'union' or that 'merging' with you.
Below is a list of self esteem activities you can engage in to make that important mirror experience a good one for you and your baby:
Secure attachment is another word for healthy dependence. When you quickly and consistently comfort, feed, talk to, touch and look at your child, your baby starts to build confidence in you and rely on you: "I can trust Mom (or Dad)!"
When your child builds trust in you as a strong and reliable caregiver, you install a basic sense of security in your baby: "I'm safe and whole with Mom (or Dad)!"
Your positive attention will literally rub off and affect your baby's self image: "Mom and Dad see me, hear me and understand me ... I must be important!"
A baby's sense of self is developed through his or her contact with you.
When you hold and touch your baby, it's a direct way for your baby's to feel himself or herself.
When your baby is brought into this world, he or she may often feel lost and 'limitless' without physical contact (this is particularly true of high need babies).
In a way your physical contact is your baby's anchor in this new world.
To provide your baby with this close access to you, you may consider buying a baby sling or babywearer - it worked like a dream for me and my son.
This positive mirror effect plants that fertile seed of wonderful high self esteem in your child - easily and effectively!
Obvious places to engage in these valuable eye contact self esteem activities with your baby are:
Also, your baby may not understand what you're saying but your baby does sense your energy and your tone of voice.
There are many situations in which you can positively benefit from the power of your voice, for instance:
Some of the first attempts of conscious physical exercises your baby will engage in will be those of reaching out for something, for instance your face or toys.
When your baby reaches out for something that is a bit challenging - a bit out of reach - and succeeds, it ads a little boost of that important "I can" to your child's inner self esteem container!
What is different now is that your toddler is also starting to become more self-aware and can express his or her desires more easily.
Positive parenting is a parenting style that puts an emphasis on respecting your child as a 'real' person, an equal, who needs to be listened to and to have some degree of say ... just like us adults.
But no need to worry, a tantrum just consists of emotions gone a bit wild. Emotions are still very difficult for your child to handle so they just come out very 'raw'.
So again, be a solid anchor for your child and stay calm. Be near your toddler and let him or her know that you're there when he or she needs it.
I my case, I have often just sat down and waited patiently until my son was 'ready' for my approach. Until I could feel the worst of the storm was over and he needed to bond! In this way I would wait until the 'explosion' was over and then reunite!
This 'staying present' and accepting will tell your toddler: "I love you no matter how you feel (or behave) - and you don't need to hold back on expressing fear or anger - tough emotions are okay!"
Having conversations with your toddler, listening closely to his or her words, paying attention, and responding respectfully tells your toddler that you view him or her as an important person.
And this will be the way that your toddler will also feel about himself or herself.
For instance: "You know what? Mom has forgotten to buy milk. It would be really great if you could help Mom go down and buy it because we don't want to be without milk, do we? Let's do this together and you can show Mom the way there!"
By engaging and involving your toddler in the project of your decision, you will make your toddler feel 'big' and important. Like an equal partner. This 'making a decision together' (even though the decision is yours) may be really helpful if you have a child with a strong will. Rather than breaking the strong will (which is a great asset) - get it on your side!
When your toddler's consciousness is prepared for a certain event, it may still hurt when it happens (for instance if you need to leave for work) but your toddler will still feel more secure because he or she knew it would happen.
When my toddler asks me for something, and I have to say 'no', I always strive to provide him with a full explanation well aware that he probably doesn't understand half of it.
But it's not the explanation in itself that matters, it's the intention!
What my toddler does understand is that I find him worthy of an explanation, that I actually bother!
Including your child in 'why' is simply showing respect!
You can initiate games that challenge your toddler but that are still 'doable':
To include your toddler you can:
For instance, you may tell your toddler: "It makes Mom sad that you broke this plate because now it doesn't work anymore and Mom has to throw it out" or "You see how the wheels have fallen off your car because you threw it. Toys may break when you throw them around".
When you direct your attention to your toddler's actions (the consequences) rather than on him as a person (Saying "you're a bad boy") you leave his or her self esteem intact while still teaching your child how to behave in this world.
Your child can now do more and more and by himself or herself and is gradually growing more and more independent. However, your child still needs you very much.
You are still an anchor of security in a ever challenging world. You have been given the important role as a guide to help your child understand inner life as well as outer life.
Support your child in what interests him or her. What we think is fun is often also what we're good at.
Encouraging your child to share emotions also teaches your kid not be afraid to come to you for support and help.
Support your child by praising his or her effort and persistence rather than judging whether it was well done or not.
Make your child share his or her day with you, ask how your child experienced a certain event or ask your child about his or her opinion about something.
This sharing will make your child feel important, equal and valuable: "I matter!"
But is also necessary for your child's sense of self esteem to succeed when lots of effort has been made.
Therefore help your child set realistic goals. Rather than encouraging your child's wish to become the best football player in the country - emphasize how well he does on his own terms, his technique, persistence, ability to run etc.
Spontaneously paying positive attention to your child teaches your child that your respect and attention are always there no matter what - they're not something your child needs to earn!
If you have any great self esteem activities or a powerful self esteem story you want to share with other parents, please don't hold yourself back. Go here to read and share self esteem stories about children.
If you're looking for lots of exercises to help both you and your children get more connected with yourselves, I encourage you to take a look at my review of the course, Spiritual Kids: Building Foundations for the Spiritually Aware Family.
Your Positive Parenting Ally,
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