We all know how vitally important good self esteem is for our children. For children with exceptionalities, fostering this can be extra challenging. Here are four areas where you can directly help your child feel how great she really is.
Being in charge of decisions and actions gives us all a boost. Kids generally don’t have much opportunity to do this, so make the opportunities happen. Have your child choose which game to play. Allow him to give you directions. Rack your brain if you have to, but come up with periodic activities where your child can take charge.
Various positive role models
We can all very easily fall into looking up to unattainable, stereotyped versions of ideal. Through books, films and real life, give positive people to look up to. Point out the challenges and the achievements of people from various fields. We all have our own challenges and it’s important that children understand that. It helps confirm to children who may otherwise feel “different” that they are in fact on equal footing, in most ways, as the bulk of society.
Point out to the child or student over and over, in a real way, what he or she does well. Children are smart, so it goes to say that there is no lying allowed. Still, generalizations, such as the repeated-until-dead “Good job!” become meaningless very quickly. The picture is a sloppy mess but colorful? Praise the variety of colors. He fell off the balance beam five times? Praise the few seconds that he did stay on there between falls. Praise his keep-to-it-ness. Be as creative as you need to be, because praise makes proud. Great (thought out) praise makes a fantastic kind of proud.
Improve your own self esteem.
If you’re down on yourself, you’ve just made it nearly impossible to raise up anyone around you, children included. If you’re going through a rough patch, develop a hobby, make some new friends, get organized and see a therapist, if necessary. Get out of that funk and camp out in PositivityLand, because that’s where it’s at for raising emotionally healthy children.