Talking about how we can improve our child's self-esteem.
I went live in my Facebook Group 'Katie's Classroom - Honest Parent Chat' this morning at 10am talking about how to improve our children's self-esteem and it was such a goodie!!
If you're not already in the group then please join me in it. I have videos on dyslexia, autism, emotional regulation, anger, anxiety - all sorts so please come in! The good thing about the group is that we're kind and we don't judge!
Here is a little synopsis of my self-esteem video chat:
What is self-esteem?
What is self-esteem?
Self esteem is how a person feels about themselves. Everyone’s self-esteem goes up and down depending on what sort of things are happening in our lives. For example, Bass had a really poor cricket match the other week and his self-esteem took a bit of a hit but then it was positively affected when he won the merit prize. I would say we have two children who pretty much have good/high self-esteem (Harry and Freddie) and two children, who suffer with low self-esteem (Bass and Alice).
So what is having good self-esteem?
If your child has good self-esteem they'll simply feel good about themselves. They'll feel confident, have and make lots of friends, not get too anxious, can happily play on their own or with friends, they're proud of themselves and their achievements, they will try new things and be able to adapt to change. Fundamentally they'll have a growth mindset. A mind that can pick themselves up if things don't go to plan and carry on.
Ok, so what does low self-esteem look like?
A child with low self-esteem won't really like themselves. They'll often get frustrated, get upset, feel stupid, find it hard to make friends, feel lonely, avoid new things, hate failure, constantly compare themselves to others and reading this description back this sounds a lot like Bass.
Bass hates getting things wrong – if he is set something too challenging and he can't do it, it's a complete tragedy and catastrophic. It's the end of the world! You could say children with low self-esteem have a fixed mindset.
Sadly, many children who have learning difficulties have low self-esteem – a low opinion of themselves. It's obvious really – they find things difficult, they often believe that life will always be difficult and urgh how sad making.
So what can we do about it?
I believe having a growth mindset is absolutely key to your child’s self-esteem.
Ok, so a lot of what I’m going to talk to you about is from an incredible TED TALK I watched on youtube by Carol Dweck called ‘The Power of Yet’: watch it here.
Dweck starts her talk by explaining about a school in Chicago where by the students had to pass a certain number of courses to graduate and if they didn’t pass a course they got the grade ‘not yet’.
Instead of a failing grade like ‘fail’ ‘d’ – whereby you automatically think you're nothing and you're getting nowhere they use the term ‘not yet’, which instantly shows the child they're on a learning curve. It gives the child a path into the future.
Yet and not yet give children greater confidence.
I love this!! How can we put this into practise this not yet?
1 Praise but praise wisely – not on intelligence or talent. Praise their effort, their strategies, their focus, their perseverance and their improvement. I hate prescribed patently but this is actually doable and it works. It's instead of saying “wow you’re a great reader” it's saying instead “wow you have sat there and read for half an hour – that’s amazing” – praise their effort.
2 Show them how much you love them. This can sometimes not come easily but tell them. Express it. Be interested in their day. Ask questions.
3 Progress over perfection. Children often give up if they don’t think they can succeed. Keep reassuring them that it is ok to make mistakes. Getting it wrong is not the end of the world.
4 Encourage them to try new challenges. I’ve seen a lovely idea going around Instagram recently – I can't remember what it's called but it's teaching our children over the summer everyday things like tying their shoelaces or making spaghetti Bolognese. Spending quality time with them will help with this.
5 Model behaviour. Keep reassuring your child that everything in life requires effort but that's ok because we will get there, we just haven't got there yet.
6 Make a list of all the things they enjoy and don’t enjoy. Challenge their perception of themselves.
7 Remind them it is about EFFORT. Put effort at the forefront of everything. Put effort into their homework, their home life, their friends and it’s that which should be rewarded. YOU/WE need to put effort into their self-esteem.
I watched another really good TED talk by Niko Everett – again I will link the youtube video (watch it here) and I want to end this video talking about our self-esteem.
To reinterate, she explains that self-esteem is just based on our own thoughts and the good news is that we can control our thoughts!!
So this is what I want you to do!
1 Say one thing every day out loud that you’re proud of about yourself and you admire about yourself.
2 Every time you have a positive thought about yourself – TURN UP THE VOLUME. If you have a negative thought press delete.
3 Spend time with people you like and make you feel good and for your child organise playdates with children they like.
4 Tell people what you like about them and when someone compliments you say thank you.
I really hope this has given you a few ideas to help improve your child's self-esteem and your own! I would honestly absolutely love to hear from you so dm me, message me, email me - get in touch!