Building self-esteem in your child

Every parent would like to think that their baby will grow into a happy, healthy young man or woman. But it's not just the health and wellbeing of a child that falls to their parents - they rely on family to help them build confidence and self-esteem too.

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Confident, well-balanced children are more likely to make the most of opportunities that arise, try new things and develop strong relationships with family and friends as they become adults.

If you are keen to learn more about how to build self-esteem in your little ones, here are a few things you can put into practice from the moment they arrive in the big, wide world.

Positive feedback is key to building self-esteem in your child, no matter how small the achievement. Little things matter to little people and even achievements that might seem insignificant to adults can mean the world to a child.

Be sure to praise your youngster when he or she does something well and it will increase their sense of self-worth. It's also a great tool for teaching your kids the right way to do something. Ideally try to find a nursery or school that employs a similarly positive attitude.

Take care
Children pick up on the smallest things, even when you might think they're out of earshot, so it's important to be careful about what you say.

What might seem like harmless teasing to you, even in the context of an adult conversation, can easily be taken as genuine criticism by your child. Similarly, though there will be times when your youngsters misbehave, it is essential to criticise the behaviour itself rather than shaming the child over their mistake.

And always take extra care when you're angry or stressed - you may say something you regret.

With many combining both working and family life, it can be tough for busy parents to find quality time for their children. But really listening to your child, no matter how young, will ensure that they know that what they have to say is worthwhile.

That means sitting down, whether at mealtimes or during play, and actively listening to your little one. With very young ones it can help to repeat the crux of their comments so that they know you've paid full attention and understood.

Always encourage them to continue chatting by asking about their day, both the good bits and bad bits. By learning about their hobbies, friends and school life you will show them that you are genuinely interested and respect their individual likes, dislikes, joys and fears.

It sounds obvious, of course, but showing your child that you love them, right from the word go, is essential to their happiness and mental wellbeing. Take time to play, laugh and cuddle with your little ones, demonstrate your love for them, and they will grow into happy confident, people throughout their childhood and beyond.