As a mom of three young and incredibly amazing kids, I want to make sure they grow up to love themselves in a way that I never learned myself. My sense of self esteem had to be learned and cultivated as I became an adult.
For whatever reason(s), I just missed the boat on how to love and appreciate myself. This led to countless mistakes and painful decisions that quite possibly may have been avoided had I learned early on just how awesome and worthy I am as an individual.
Now, I wouldn’t want to miss out on the priceless lessons that came from the life I’ve led, but my hope as a mom is to help guide my children down a different and less painful path, if possible.
I’ve turned my life’s work and career into helping other moms learn how to love themselves. They, in turn, can show their children how to do the same, while they’re young and able to really absorb the lessons instead of having to learn it all firsthand later on in life.
My theory is that if you grow up learning how to love yourself and feeling safe and loved in your environment, you’ll grow to be a happy, healthy, kind, compassionate and loving adult. When the world is filled with people that feel that way, we’ll see more compassion and kindness on a much grander scale. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely want to live in world like that.
Through years of observing and noticing what works best for me and my kids, I’ve come up with a list of my top five ways to teach your children how to love themselves.
1. Make them feel important.
When your kids want to talk to you, put aside what you’re doing, look them in the eye and be genuinely interested in what they’re talking about. It may only take a minute or two for the entire conversation, but it will make such a positive lasting impression for them. The last thing you want is for them to feel that your iPhone is more important than they are.
Also, say “I love you” all the time. No, it won’t lose its effect if you use it multiple times throughout the day. Make sure that they never doubt that you love them. Even when they get a bit older and they seem like they’re sick of hearing it, they’re not. Keep saying it.
Another pointer: When talking to friends or relatives, I know it can be easy to vent about the latest trouble your mini-me’s may have gotten into. Try to focus on the good, and make sure they overhear you praising and speaking highly of them.
2. Give them opportunities to stretch outside of their comfort zone.
If they normally like to take dance classes, encourage a soccer camp or music lessons. Letting your kids see that there’s little to be afraid of when trying new things will give them the confidence to make this a lifelong habit. Who knows? This could encourage them to do a stint with Americorps or travel to foreign countries as young adults. These enriching experiences, paired with the confidence to pull it off will result in more self-love.