Teaching Your Child Self-Love
February is known as the month that is dedicated to love. Valentine hearts, candies, and cards are given as a way to express love toward others. But, what if we could rethink the month of February in terms of teaching our child self-love. Learning to teach your children to express themselves and love themselves unconditionally takes time and effort, but it’s one of the most important things you can do for a child.
What is self-love?
In simple terms, self-love is about loving and valuing yourself. In today's world, kids are surrounded by negativity. Whether they experience isolation during Covid-19, rejection from friends, negative messages on social media, mean text messages back-and-forth, overhearing the daily news...the list goes on and on; kids are drowning in negativity. With all that being said, it is crucial that kids need positivity and self-love in their life. The good news is that no matter how hard your child is on themselves, positivity and self-love can be taught.
So, why is teaching your child self-love not just important, but essential? For many, it is so much easier to put themselves down than build themselves up. A child with a healthy attitude about themselves and their abilities will feel capable of tackling life’s challenges, at home and in school. They are more likely to value themselves and their abilities, be proud of the things they can do, and want to try their best. In addition, they are more motivated to take on new challenges and cope with and learn from mistakes. When a child values themselves and doesn't rely on self-worth from others or outside circumstances, they're more likely to set healthy boundaries in relationships, stand up for themselves, and ask for help when they need it. As you can see, self-love is the foundation of good mental health, social happiness, and academic and professional success.
When you teach your children to understand emotions and love themselves unconditionally, it leads to strong self-esteem and helps them develop a healthy sense of self in a natural way.
10 ways to teach your child self-love
1) First and foremost, you must be an example. Your kids are watching you, and they will emulate you. If you are not honoring and respecting yourself, then you are setting the wrong example for your kids. Be careful of the put-downs or negative comments that you say about yourself, especially in front of you child.
2)Teach your child to focus on what matters. Self-love has less to do with how you look and what you are wearing and more to do with how you regard yourself. They’re not awesome because of hairstyles or outfits and other external things that could be taken away in an instance. They’re awesome because of who they are at the core of their being, and I want them to know that and appreciate that.
3) Understand your impact. As a parent you have the power to build them up or tear them down with your words. Be cognizant of the words that you use when talking to your child; not just what you say but how you say it.
4) Teach your child to express their emotions rather than hiding them. Let your child cry if they are sad or laugh if they are happy. Emotions make up who they are and they need to feel that expressing them is okay (as long as it is done safely and appropriately).
5) Teach your child the power of positive self-talk. How your child talks to themselves has a lot of power in determining how they feel about themselves. Remind your child the importance of talking to themselves with the same kindness and compassion as they would a good friend. Learn more about self-talk by clicking the picture below.
6) Make an affirmation jar. Write out different positive affirmations on note cards and each day, pick a card, and read the affirmation 3 times out loud. Check out this link for a list of 101 affirmations.
7) Regularly schedule quality family time. Spending time doing something fun as a family is an important way to show your child their value. Note that quality time isn't about being in the same room, it's interacting with each other.
8) Make your child feel important. When your kids want to talk to you, put aside what you’re doing, look them in the eye and be genuinely interested in what they’re talking about.It may only take a minute or two for the entire conversation, but it will make such a positive lasting impression for them.The last thing you want is for them to feel that your iPhone is more important than they are.
9) Teach your child to identify their strengths. Help your child to make a list of all the things they are good at. It could be as simple as "I am a good friend". Another idea is to make a strengths collage by helping your child cut out pictures and words from magazine that represent their strengths. You can also make a strengths word cloud that your child can print and hang up as a reminder of their value.
10) Teach your child to forgive themselves. When your child makes a mistake they can experience a lot of shame. Check out this link for ways that you can teach your child how to self-forgive.
In addition to these strategies, here are a list of self-love themed books:
As always, please do not hesitate to email me if you have questions and/or concerns about your child social or emotional well being.