As a caregiver, you may have heard about the importance of self-care or self-love. But have you ever considered the important role this can have in your child’s life, too?
Self-love is appreciating one’s worth and regarding one’s happiness and well-being. Part of the beauty of self-love is that it can look different for everyone. Every kiddo (and adult) is different and has a unique way of accepting and loving who they are. Here are some examples of how self-love can look different for everyone:
- Listening to your body
- Moving or stretching your body
- Setting healthy boundaries
- Developing healthy relationships
- Being kind to yourself
Not only can self-love look different for everyone, but it can change as a person grows, which is part of the reason why teaching kids self-love is important. If kids are taught self-love from an early age, they’re more likely to practice this form of self-acceptance when they’re older. Additionally, teaching kids self-love encourages them to value their opinion of themselves which can result in boosted self-esteem and confidence. These skills combined with others like positive self-talk, can give your child lifelong resilience which is valuable in school and social relationships, too.
Teaching self-love might sound great in theory, but it could be hard to know where to start. Here are some easy ways to encourage kids to appreciate themselves.
1. Display self-love! Have kids write things they love about themselves on smaller pieces of paper. When they’re finished, punch small holes into the pieces of paper and run a string through the holes. Then, display their self-love masterpiece wherever they’d like – on the fridge, outside their room, in their cozy spot, or wherever feels good to them!
2. Foster conversations about self-love. Having positive conversations can be a subtle way to encourage kids to practice self-love. Try having a conversation centered around positive things they’ve done today. Here are a few questions to try:
- How did you cope with big feelings today?
- What are 3 words you’d use to describe yourself?
- How were you kind to someone today?
- How were you brave today?
3. Model self-love. Sure, you can tell your kids to love themselves, but how can you model self-love and encourage them to practice the skill in many ways? Here are a few of our favorite ideas:
- Developing healthy relationships: Relationships can be hard, but modeling mutual respect and love with your family, friends, or partner is important for kids to see.
- Avoid negative language: Avoid phrases like “I can’t do this,” “I never get it right,” or negative talk about your appearance or actions. Instead, try some of the positive affirmations below or phrases like, “I can’t do it yet, but I’m trying,” “It’s okay if I make a mistake,” “I accept and love myself,” or “I am valued.”
- Show kids they can be their own cheerleaders: Instead of letting negative thoughts dominate, practice using positive affirmations with yourself and your kids to help instill a growth mindset. Here are a few to try:
- I am loved.
- I know I can.
- I can do hard things.
- I am going to try.
4. Upgrade your encouragement! Instead of focusing on a child’s qualities, try phrases that focus on the action or process. Here are a few examples.
- Instead of “I love your painting!” try, “Look at those colors, tell me about this!”
- Instead of “Smart girl/boy!” try, “You worked really hard on that. I knew you could do it!”
- Instead of, “Good job!” try, “You did it!”
- Instead of, “That was nice of you.” try, “Thank you for helping. I think you really helped them feel better.”
Even though these ideas may seem small, they can help build a positive self-image in your child that can last a lifetime which is why it’s never too early to start. The relationship your child has with themselves is the one they’ll have forever.
Ready for More? You May Also Like:
Everything You Need to Know About Self-Care
I Am Loved: 30+ Encouraging Printable Lunch Box Notes
Positive Self-Talk Coloring Pages