Results from a new study at the University of Washington show that children begin to gain a sense of their self-esteem much earlier in life than we once thought. The study shows that children develop self-esteem by age 5 and typically have either a positive or negative view of themselves before they start school.
While researchers involved in the study agree that the first five years of a child’s life provides the foundation of their self-esteem, they are quick to point out that self-esteem can change over time. As children grow up, experiences and events in their lives can definitely impact their self-esteem.
Most parents want to know what they can do or what role they can play in helping their child form a positive self-esteem. Here are a few ideas that can make a difference:
Stay Positive – Focus On Your Self-Esteem
One of the most important things you can do to help your child develop a good self-esteem is to focus on your own. When you are harsh on yourself or unrealistic about your abilities, your child will pick up on that. They will actually follow your example and mirror your behavior. It’s important that you give your children a strong role model to follow; one that is focused on nurturing their own self-esteem.
Set Realistic Goals
It’s easy for parents to make the mistake of setting standards that are just too high for their children to reach. There is a delicate balance between expectations and goals that will push your child and those that are so far out of reach that they cause him or her to feel disappointed in themselves. This isn’t easy and is one of the challenges of being a parent. Do your best to closely monitor your child’s ability and then set goals that they can realistically achieve. This helps boost their self-confidence.
Give Positive Feedback
Definitely find reasons to praise your children when appropriate. They need to hear those positive affirmations. At the same time, be realistic when doling out compliments. Going overboard on positive feedback can create an unrealistic expectation where a child begins to rely too heavily on praise. Trust your instincts and you’ll be sure to find the right time and place to give positive feedback to your child.
There are many other things you can do to help your child as they develop and sustain their self-esteem. This self-esteem will continue to play an important role in your child’s life as they grow and make more and more decisions on their own. It can definitely help when it comes to decisions that may affect their health, such as eating healthy foods, exercising to stay fit and taking care of their bodies.
Even kids with the best self-esteem will still catch a bug now and then. When they do, remember that AllKids Urgent Care is here to help. We are the Valley’s best pediatric urgent care with clinics in Gilbert and Mesa. With convenient locations off the US60 and both our Gilbert pediatric urgent care and our Mesa pediatric urgent care open between noon and 10 pm, daily, we are here when you need us most.