Imagine a world where everyone loved themselves just the way they are. A world where everyone accepted their strengths and weaknesses, felt confident and proud of who they are. This can become a reality, if this world started with our kids. That’s right, self-love is not just about loving yourself, it’s about accepting yourself, and what better way to start than by encouraging self-love in our little ones?
But why is it so important to love yourself from a young age on? As someone who grew up in a home where there was no love, I still feel the effects of negative things and abuse. As an adult and mother of three, it hurts to see how much I doubt myself every day. I worry that I’m not good enough, and it’s hard for me to love and value myself as much as I should. This is why I know from personal experience how important it is for a child to grow up in a safe place where they are loved without conditions and where they are also taught to love themselves. Little kids soak up everything we do like sponges, so if we want them to love themselves, we have to show them how. By being a good example, celebrating their successes, embracing their uniqueness, and teaching them to be kind to themselves, we can help them become confident, self-loving people.
Self-love isn’t just about feeling good; it’s also about feeling good enough. So, how does loving yourself set the stage for a healthy and happy life?
Promotes positive mental health
Self-love is like a shield of armor for your child’s mental health. Children who love themselves are like rays of sunshine, spreading positivity wherever they go. These kids are less likely to suffer from the blues and will most likely have a brighter outlook on life. You want to make sure you have given them the tools and resilience to fight off any negativity that may come their way down the road.
Encourages healthy relationships
Self-love is also like a secret weapon for making healthy connections with other people. When it comes to spotting bad relationships, children who love themselves are like ninja warriors. They won’t stand for anyone or anything that doesn’t show them the respect and kindness they deserve. And when it comes to social problems, these kids are like geniuses at solving them. They are sure of themselves and have the confidence to get through even the most difficult situations. Teaching them to love themselves will have a big impact on their chances of having happy, healthy relationships for the rest of their lives. And yes, parents, it does begin with you!
When children love themselves, they are basically superheroes in training. They’re equipped to tackle anything life throws their way and bounce back like a rubber ball. Kids who have a strong foundation of self-love are way less likely to be discouraged by failure or setbacks. They will likely believe that they are indestructible and will get up and try again!
Enhances academic success
Self-love is so powerful that it’s like having a personal tutor for your child’s academic success. When you teach your child healthy doses of self-love, they can actually concentrate and focus better at school. They’re less likely to let negative self-talk get in the way of their learning and are more likely to do well and shine like a star!
Promotes a positive self-image
If you want your child to rock their self-image like a superstar, make sure they have a solid foundation of self-love. Because self-love is much like a magic mirror, kids who love themselves are going to be confident in their own skin and much less likely to be critical of their appearance. These kids are far less likely to fall prey to negative self-talk and are going to have a positive self-image.
So, it all sounds great, but how can you actually encourage self-love?
Be a role model
Children are like sponges and they pick up on everything we do. Have you noticed how they just love to copy you and want to be just like you? Mummy and Daddy are their superheroes! Like that quirky smile when they feel so proud because they secretly steal your lipstick and smear it all over their lips? If you want your little one to love themselves, make sure you are practicing self-love yourself. Start by taking care of your own needs (and you deserve it!), being kind to yourself and accepting your own flaws (even when it is not easy). Your little one will also learn that self-love is important, and they will start learning to value it as well.
Celebrate their achievements
Go ahead and be the personal cheerleader for your child’s achievements! Children love to feel proud of what they have accomplished and a little celebration can go a long way in boosting their self-esteem and confidence. Whether it’s a high-five for getting a good grade on a test, or a pat on the back just because they managed to pack their own bag. Make it a habit to always acknowledge and celebrate your child’s efforts (no matter how small they may be to you). Showing your child that you’re proud of their achievements will not only make them feel so loved, but you are also instilling the self love they need to keep on shining like the star that they are.
Embrace their uniqueness
Your child is so special and one of a kind, so let them know that by helping them embrace their uniqueness! Encourage them to be proud of their individual traits, interests, and talents. Teach them that it’s okay to be different and that being themselves is what makes them special. By embracing their individuality, children will learn to love and accept themselves for who they are, and that’s a valuable foundation for a lifetime of self-love.
Teach them to be kind to themselves
Don’t forget to teach your kids to be kind to themselves just as you teach them to be kind to others. Tell your child to talk to themselves in a positive way and to avoid being mean to themselves. Remind them that they deserve love just the way they are.
And while you’re at it, don’t forget to add a few affirmations of self-love. Teach them to say things like “I am enough,” “I am worthy,” and “I am loved” over and over again. This will help them believe these good things about themselves and build a strong sense of self-love that will serve them well for the rest of their lives. It is up to us to really teach our kids how to love themselves.
Encourage physical activity
Have you ever dragged yourself for a work out sesh, only to find out that it feels so good afterwards? Exercise is really a great way to boost self-esteem and confidence. Encourage your child to participate in physical activities that they enjoy, whether it’s dance, sports or simply playing outside. This will not only help them love their bodies, but also help them build a positive relationship with physical activity.
Encourage a growth mindset
One very important lesson is to teach children that everyone makes mistakes and that it is totally okay to fail. Try sharing your own personal stories with them that helps them understand that failure is an opportunity to learn and grow, not a reflection of their worth as a person. By encouraging a growth mindset, you can help your child see challenges as opportunities to grow and improve.
Promote positive body image
As our kids grow, it’s inevitable that they are going to be constantly bombarded with images of perfection in the media, which is a sure way to cause negative body image and low self-esteem. Try your best to encourage your child to focus on their own health and well-being, rather than trying to meet impossible standards set by others. Always remind them that they are so beautiful and loved. And it is super important to help them understand that everyone is different and beautiful in their own way.
Allow for independence
Encourage children to make decisions for themselves and to trust their instincts. If they are too young, give them simple choices and allow them to have the freedom to choose. This will help them build self-confidence and self-esteem. Give children opportunities to try new things and make their own choices, even if it means making mistakes along the way.
Children who are able to empathize with others tend to have higher self-esteem and a stronger sense of self-worth. Encourage children to see things from other people’s perspectives, to be kind and understanding, and to stand up for what is right (even if it doesn’t make them the ‘cool kid’).
Create a supportive environment
Create a home environment that is supportive, loving, and accepting. Encourage open communication and make sure your child feels heard and understood. Ask them about their day and allow them to share with you the ups and downs of their day. Show your love and support for your child, no matter what.
Don’t compare them to others
No comparison, all celebration! Focus on your child’s strengths and encourage them to set and reach their own goals. This will help them feel good about themselves. If you compare your child to the girl next door, it will only hurt their self-esteem and sense of worth. Focus on your child’s strengths and help them grow in those areas. Encourage them to set their own goals and celebrate their own successes (with you as their biggest fan!).
Make time for fun
Don’t forget to take a break from the daily grind with your toddler and have some fun. Don’t forget to give them time to play and do things that make them happy. When they’re having fun, they’ll love themselves even more and feel like superstars.
There is no greater joy than seeing our beautiful children grow and shine with confidence and self-assurance. When kids know they are loved and important, they can reach their full potential and go to new heights. And as they continue to grow and change, their self-love and self-worth will be a constant source of comfort and encouragement, helping them handle the ups and downs of life with grace and resilience. Parents, let’s take advantage of this wonderful chance to teach our kids to love themselves and know how lucky we are to be able to help them grow and thrive in ways we never could have imagined.