Funny, but Mommy Memos are becoming a way for me to get advice from my own mom. I love it. Or maybe I am just secretly coercing my mother into documenting moments of significance in her own life. Either way, I wanted her input on ways to give children self-esteem. This is bold, but I think individual worth, the root of a positive self image, makes the difference between stability & instability.
As a Mom, I have come to realize that self esteem in children is developed through life experiences. You can't give your children self-esteem. You can only help them develop it. When I was raising my children, through trial & error of course, I learned a few things about self-esteem. Small children develop healthy self-esteem when they are taught these 5 things:
1. " I belong."
2. " I am capable."
3. " I can handle the disappointments of life."
4. " I can learn from my mistakes."
5. " I can make meaningful contributions in my world."
A memory just popped into my mind! Bedtime is always hard! In fact, it's the hardest time of the day sometimes. I remember one thing that worked with my little ones. At my wits end one particular evening, I created a bedtime routine chart. I involved my children by asking them what they needed to do before they went to bed. It seems like they were too young to write, and so we made a list of what they said. I HAD THEM PUT THEIR LIST IN ORDER. Going to the bathroom, washing their hands, getting on pajamas, brushing teeth, reading a book, saying their prayers, etc. This made them feel very capable (an important ingredient of self-esteem). They felt like they created the list, not the parent. We took photos of them completing each task so they could post the photos on the routine chart. The routine chart was posted in a place that could be seen everyday. The routine chart became the BOSS, not me. Instead of me telling my children "Get ready for bed," I only had to ask, "What is next on your routine chart?" Bedtime became much easier. My children got to tell me! Most importantly, they felt smart and capable.