Parenting: Toddler self esteem

August 5, 2010

So how do you teach a toddler good self-esteem? It may seem a little tricky considering they are still getting that whole talking thing down. But don't be fooled. One-year-olds understand most of what you are saying. They certainly pick up on the facial expressions and body language accompanied by your language.

One of the best things you can do for your child's self-esteem is show her affection. If a child feels loved, he or she will love themselves. I take every opportunity I can to tell Sienna I love her. When she learns a new skill or follows a command, I try to accompany the "good job!" with a hug and a kiss. What's so great about giving affection is you begin to get it back. Sienna loves giving hugs and kisses.

Everyone's life is busy. That's why parents are experts at multi-tasking! Set aside a block of time each day when you put aside everything else and give your child undivided attention. That email on your blackberry or the laundry in the dryer can wait. Children need to know you're focused on them. Plus, it is during those times you'll discover something truly amazing about your child's development!

Try to exchange something negative with a positive. For example, if your child uses crayons to write on the wall (for the first time at least) gently say no and show them a coloring book or place where they can be free to express their creativity or explore those developing motor skills. Too many "no's" throughout the day isn't fun for anyone, especially a little guy.

Teach through example. Smile and laugh a lot with your child and with your spouse or partner. Kids are sponges and at this age start watching you like a hawk. Just because your child is in the other room or you are not talking directly to her, doesn't mean she's not paying attention. Reserve intense conversations or venting for when your child is in bed. Part of good self-esteem is knowing how to treat others in a loving, respectful way.

Good luck!

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