Self-esteem is how we feel about our self, but we can help other’s boost their self-esteem as well. This post will talk about ways we can encourage our children to help a friend, classmate or teammate improve their self-esteem.
About a year ago my daughter came home talking about a child in her class. She shared a story about this kid every day. The gist of the story was always the same. This kid was always saying such negative things about herself, to and about others. I asked my daughter if she ever talked to the child. Her response, “Yes, but it’s too much listening to her beat herself up all the time, and the other kids are mean to her. Mommy, I don’t want them to start being mean to me!” At this point, my daughter was avoiding the child at all cost. Trust me; I understand about being associated with “that person”, but that is not how we raise our kids. I had to find a way to explain to my daughter that this particular child needed a bit of sunshine. At the same time, I had to ensure I was not setting her up to be crushed by the child’s negative comments for when she lashed out.
How To Build Self-Esteem In The Classroom From Another Student
Here are a few things I suggested:
- Speak – There’s no harm in speaking every morning. Walk into the classroom, flash a smile and say good morning. A smile goes a long way and can turn someone’s day around.
- Give a compliment – Find something you like about her look It can be a simple as saying, hey, I like your hair today. I like that outfit. Maybe they are using a cool looking pencil, let them know you think it’s cool.
- Counter negative talk – If you hear her saying something negative about herself, tell her something great about herself. This plays out well for teammates. Point out a good play they made vs. allowing talk about all the bad plays (note: just because a child comes down hard on themselves about not playing a great game, doesn’t necessarily mean they have low self-esteem. This is more so for that child that’s constantly being negative about things in their life).
- Invite her to join you at lunch – I did explain inviting the child to join her at lunch may cause a bit of a ruckus with other friends, but you are to be the better person. Don’t worry about what your other friends may think. Lunchtime is the time for chatter and laughter. Have you ever had lunch with your child at school? Oh, my. Every time I go in, I walk away with my stomach hurting from laughing so much.
- Offer to help with class assignments – Some teachers give time in class for kids to work together. When everyone forms their groups, look around and offer to help her with a problem or two. Instead of hearing her say, “I can’t” encourage her to ask you a question and try to figure it out. Do some high fives afterward. Kids can do the same for teammates. If a teammate needs to work on catching, shooting, etc. offer to do some drills with them. There’s nothing wrong with a strong player taking some time out to work with a weaker player on the team. I’m sure that weaker player will feel like a million dollars at the end of practice.
- Listen – Sit down and listen to her. Maybe she just needs to feel someone cares.
The Outcome Of Being A Bit Of Sunshine
My daughter still comes home with stories, but there’s a small change happening. The child is slowly beginning to talk to others at lunch time. She has been invited to join a few groups and doesn’t speak negatively all day, every day.
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting this kid and engaging in conversation. The first thing she asked me, “Hey, do you like my glasses?” She had the biggest smile on her face. I smiled back and said, “I LOVE them!” The best part was how she received that compliment. She smiled and skipped away with joy in her heart!
No, I’m not saying that by giving compliments or always being nice will improve another’s self-esteem, but I am saying that these little bits of love warm the heart and souls of others. That smile, that hello, that how are you today and actually listening, goes a long way!
Encourage your child(ren) to be a bit of sunshine for another child; we never know what they may be dealing with.
Know You, Be You, Love You
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