Self-esteem comes from having a sense of belonging, believing that we're capable, and knowing our contributions are valued and worthwhile. Like you, nurturing my preschoolers self-esteem seems like a hefty responsibility. After all, a feeling of self-worth lays the foundation for your preschoolers future as he sets out to try new things on his own.
I'd like to share with you something I do each night, just before I kiss the boy's goodnight. Together with each boy I spend a few minutes talking about the day - what they enjoyed or didn't enjoy. I then hand them their personalised "Positive" Box, a hand painted simple white box with meaningful pictures (they chose) from the computer that I printed off and we pasted on together. Inside the box are words that I have chosen to share with them about how they conducted themselves, problem-solved, showed kindness etc in situations on that particular day. I give one word for each year of their life. (Master 2 gets 2 words per night, and Master 4 gets 4 words per night)It is a really lovely way to build your child's self-esteem, discuss in a calm setting any challenges the day presented and also help your child build a wide vocabulary. Since doing this on a nightly basis with my 4 year old since he was two, I have to say that he certainly uses many of the words in his daily vocabulary. Using this box isn't always about praising the boys. I use it also to highlight situations where I felt they have not "given something a go" or "stuck at something". I make sure I have a balance of words (praise and encouragement) in the box. There's a difference between praise and encouragement. One rewards the task while the other rewards the person ("You did it!" rather than "I'm proud of you!"). Praise can make a child feel that he's only "good" if he does something perfectly. Encouragement, on the other hand, acknowledges the effort. "Tell me about your drawing. I see that you like purple" is more helpful than saying, "That's the most beautiful picture I've ever seen." Too much praise can sap self-esteem because it can create pressure to perform and set up a continual need for approval from others. So dole out the praise judiciously and offer encouragement liberally; it will your child grow up to feel good about himself.
Factors affecting children's self esteem
How much the child feels wanted, appreciated and loved
How your child sees himself, often built from what parents and those close say
His or her sense of achievement
How the child relates to othersYour child's self esteem can be increased by you:
Appreciating your child
Telling your child that you love them
Spending time with your child
Encouraging your child to make choices
Fostering independence in your children
Giving genuine importance to your child's opinion and listening
Taking the time to explain reasons
Feeding your child with positive encouragement
Encouraging your child to try new and challenging activities