Children can have no better inheritance than believing parents. - Nels Ferre
Helping your child learn to believe in himself is one of the greatest gifts you can ever give him because it is a gift hell use forever. Here are 40 simple ways to nurture your childs self-esteem and enhance his self-confidence from my book Parents Do Make A Difference. Remember, you do make a difference!
- Begin each morning and end each night telling your child how much you love him.
- When your child comes home ask, "What was the best part of your day?"
- Mark a spot on the calendar with your child thats just for special together time. Ask your child to choose what special thing she wants to do with you.
- Start a family motto , "Success comes in cans, not in cannots," to encourage her to think positively.
- Record yourself reading your childs favorite book so he can listen when youre not there.
- Teach your child to say to herself "I know I can do it" or "I can handle this" to help her cope.
- Give your child his own calendar to hang in his room and cover it with family photos to enjoy.
- Start a journal together that logs your childs special successes and efforts.
- Tell your child why you like who she is.
- Ask your child what his favorite meal is and then make it tonight.
- Put a note under your childs pillow confirming how much you love her.
- Frame your childs picture and put it in a prominent place. Tell him its there to remind you even when hes not there how glad hes a part of your life.
- Buy a special candle and holder and light to together for a nightly tradition for just talking and reading together.
- Put up a bulletin board for your child to display her best work papers.
- Plan a Family Movie Night and rent your childs favorite video.
- Remind your child why you think hes very special and terrific.
- Write a letter each year about why youre glad your child is part of your life and read it together then save it to give to him as a graduation present.
- Provide her with a small address book that has numbers of most important people. For non-reading children glue photos of the people.
- Set aside Family Fun night at least once a week on the calendar to play games and enjoy each other.
- Go to the library and read together Robert Munschs book, Love You Forever.
- Celebrate any improvement or effort your child has had this week.
- Make a small personal photo album pictures from infancy to now to enjoy.
- Make a batch of cookies just for your child.
- Catch your child being good and tell her why she is.
- Tell your child exactly what you appreciate about him.
- Purchase a journal to begin recording with your child special family memories.
- Tell your child why you think hes a good and worthwhile person.
- Make a collage together using magazine cutouts, photos and words that show good times shared.
- Remind your child how much you respect her and why.
- Set as regular "hug times" on the couch.
- Hug her, kiss her for no reason other than the most important: you love her!
- Make a list together of at least 10 special qualities that make him lovable.
- Remember to call your child by names that boosts her feelings of adequacy.
- Compare your child only to himself and his own performance--never to another.
- Ask yourself, "Is what Im expecting something my child wants or is it more something I want for myself?"
- Each week have your child record her academic progress on an audio tape so that she can "hear about" her abilities: poetry, math facts, spelling, storytelling.
- Set aside a special box for your child to store school projects and papers he is most proud of.
- Record your childs accomplishments (big and small!) on 1x5" paper strips. Connect them in a long paper chain and hang it in her room.
- Deliberately say positive messages outloud so your child can overhear you and model them by saying the same about himself.
- Remember, have faith in your child, so she can have faith in herself.
Michele Borba, Ed.D. is an internationally-recognized consultant on increasing childrens self-esteem and achievement and is the author of 24 publications including Parents Do Make A Difference: How to Raise Kids with Solid Character, Strong Minds, and Caring Hearts. A former classroom teacher and parent of three sons, she has presented keynotes and workshops to over half a million participants worldwide and is a frequent guest on radio and television talk shows.
© 1999 by Michele Borba. Adapted from Parents Do Make A Difference: How to Raise Kids with Solid Character, Strong Minds, and Caring Hearts. Jossey-Bass Publishers, 350 Sansome Street, San Francisco, CA 94104. 1999. $18.00 paperback, 320 pages. ISBN 0-7879-4605-2 Order: www.parentingbookmark.com. Call: 916-939-8244 or fax 916-939-8246. Please contact for permission to reprint.