Praise and encouragement can positively impact how your child feels about themselves

By Angela Harris Michigan State University Extension To be successful in life, school and relationships your child needs to have a positive self-image. Children view themselves, most importantly, how their parents have viewed them. You should show your child how pleased you are with who they are. Just like adults, children have strengths and weaknesses; help them find and feel proud of their strengths. It is important to encourage their efforts when they attempt new things as well. Children gain self-esteem when parents encourage them to work hard, finish a tough job, overcome an obstacle or acquire a new skill. Giving praise is powerful, and is most effective in small doses and given at the right time. Praise their efforts and appreciate their attempts. Encourage children to keep trying and to enjoy themselves in the process. It is also important to praise their strengths. Help your child find things they are good at and encourage them to be proud of these strengths. This can help them learn self-praise. Show them how to congratulate themselves for a job well done. Tell them “you should be proud of yourself because you picked up your toys all by yourself.” Some other ways Michigan State University Extension suggests how you can encourage your child’s self-esteem are:
  • Give your child your undivided, focused attention for a period of time each day. This helps them feel valuable.
  • Display their artwork as a way to make them feel proud of their drawing and coloring efforts.
  • Make sure you make comments about your child to others in front of them. They love it when you tell them how you feel, but it can make them very feel very special when they hear you telling others too.
  • Treat your child as an individual. Try not to compare them with others. Also avoid using a nickname they do not like.
Helping your child develop positive self-esteem will help them enjoy life, have an easier time handling conflicts and resist negative pressures. Most importantly, it will leave them feeling capable and loved. To contact an expert in your area, visit , or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).