Recently I asked a preschooler "do you feel good about yourself?" I thought the answer would be "Of course I feel good about myself!" I was glad when it was as the preschool years are the critical years for self-concept development. Actually it starts from birth, and as they grow in confidence between 3 and 6 years of age, and know that they are loved, respected and located in a secure environment, Wooosh !!!! Up goes the self-concept and do they feel awesome.
The self is what is most private and personal to us. It develops from the dynamic relationship between the self-image and the ideal self which giving rise to what we call the self-concept or self-esteem. When all three are firing you have the self in harmony. The self therefore flourishes where there are healthy relationships which are constantly nourished.
Have you ever noticed how sometimes they will play by themselves while other times that they need to have a high level of interaction? Or do they want to be close to you while at other times you get pushed away? It's all part of growing their own self-concept. You mom or dad have to find the balance in an environment that is supportive of your kid, allowing them to experience new exciting situations
Our preschoolers wake every day to a new experience. Each day is a new way of expressing their joy of life. They shout, laugh, some skip, jump, somersault, all in the name of life. It is our responsibility as parents to make sure they develop on that initial sense of living so as to form an image of themselves which tells them they are just as good as others and even better.
Feeling awesome means that the self-worth or self-esteem of the child is polished day by day.
The people they meet, the feelings and emotions that they have, are all being aware and you the parents / caregivers are making sure that the ways they respond to the new encounters are in harmony with the family and its culture. Just because you are there every day, you can not sit back and think it will just happen. If no caring person is there it's even worse, in fact it's impossible.
It takes presence, work, patience and attention.
So as the self-esteem of your preschooler grows, your own self-confidence and self-esteem also grows. It's a mutually benefitting situation which will only lead to your being able to recognize that your child is special, unique and different in those little ways from other children, full of his or her own ways of expressing why they feel awesome about themselves.
Some ways to know they feel awesome about themselves:
· They are joyful, responsive and creative
· Their self-confidence shows in whatever they are doing
· Not afraid to take on new tasks
· Will respond to other children's attempts at friendship
· Will tell you when they prefer to be alone or needing extra support
As you get to really know your preschooler you will notice many more ways that they tell you they are feeling self-confident. When this happens do not be skimpy on the praise, do not forget to hug and show them you love them and most of all, do not forget to show them how good you are feeling about yourself. That's the trick to growing their self-esteem.