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The joy of self-love: A guide to raising confident and resilient children

Bella Heim

Bella Heim

Bella is a mummy of three, writer, and photographer. She's not afraid to admit that she relies on a little red wine to keep the chaos of motherhood at bay. When she's not dodging toys and dirty diapers, you'll find her documenting the wild and wonderful ride of parenthood, and adding a splash of inspiration, creativity, and a healthy dose of mum humour along the way.
Created on Oct 30, 2023 · 9 mins read
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Imagine a world where everyone loved themselves just the way they are. A world where everyone accepted their strengths and weaknesses, and felt confident and proud of who they are. This can become a reality if this world started with our kids. That’s right, self-love is not just about loving yourself, it’s about accepting yourself, and what better way to start than by encouraging self-love in our little ones?

But why is self-love so important, especially from a young age? As someone who grew up in a loveless home, I still find myself suffering from the aftermath of negativity and abuse. As an adult and a mum of three, I painfully watch myself living my days with constant self-doubt. I worry that I am not good enough, and I struggle to find ways to love and appreciate myself like I should. This is why I know first hand how important it is for a child to grow in a safe place not only where they are loved unconditionally, but also a place where self-love is fostered and encouraged. Little children are really like sponges, they pick up on everything we do, and if we want them to love themselves, we need to show them how. By being a positive role model, celebrating their achievements, embracing their uniqueness, and teaching them to be kind to themselves, we can help them grow into confident and self-loving individuals.

Self-love is not just about feeling good, it’s about feeling good enough. So, how does self-love lay the foundation for a healthy and fulfilling life?

Promotes positive mental health

Self-love is like a shield of armour for your child’s mental health. Children who love themselves are like rays of sunshine, spreading positivity wherever they go. These kids are less likely to suffer from the blues and will most likely have a brighter outlook on life. You want to make sure you have given them the tools and resilience to fight off any negativity that may come their way down the road.

Encourages healthy relationships

Self-love is also like a secret weapon for building healthy relationships. Children who love themselves are like ninja warriors when it comes to spotting toxic relationships. They simply won’t tolerate anything that doesn’t treat them with the respect and kindness they deserve. And, when faced with difficult social situations, these kids are like problem-solving geniuses. They have the confidence and self-assuredness to navigate even the trickiest of situations. Teaching self-love is going to have a powerful effect on their chance of having a lifetime of happy and healthy relationships. And yes parents, it really starts with you!

Develops resilience

When children love themselves, they are basically superheroes in training. They’re equipped to tackle anything life throws their way and bounce back like a rubber ball. Kids who have a strong foundation of self-love are way less likely to be discouraged by failure or setbacks. They will likely believe that they are indestructible and will get up and try again!

Enhances academic success

Self-love is so powerful that it’s like having a personal tutor for your child’s academic success. When you teach your child healthy doses of self-love, they can actually concentrate and focus better at school. They’re less likely to let negative self-talk get in the way of their learning and are more likely to do well and shine like a star!

Promotes a positive self-image

If you want your child to rock their self-image like a superstar, make sure they have a solid foundation of self-love. Because self-love is much like a magic mirror, kids who love themselves are going to be confident in their own skin and much less likely to be critical of their appearance. These kids are far less likely to fall prey to negative self-talk and are going to have a positive self-image.

So, it all sounds great, but how can you actually encourage self-love?

Be a role model

Children are like sponges and they pick up on everything we do. Have you noticed how they just love to copy you and want to be just like you? Mummy and Daddy are their superheroes! Like that quirky smile when they feel so proud because they secretly steal your lipstick and smear it all over their lips? If you want your little one to love themselves, make sure you are practicing self-love yourself. Start by taking care of your own needs (and you deserve it!), being kind to yourself and accepting your own flaws (even when it is not easy). Your little one will also learn that self-love is important, and they will start learning to value it as well.

Celebrate their achievements

Go ahead and be the personal cheerleader for your child’s achievements! Children love to feel proud of what they have accomplished and a little celebration can go a long way in boosting their self-esteem and confidence. Whether it’s a high-five for getting a good grade on a test, or a pat on the back just because they managed to pack their own bag.  Make it a habit to always acknowledge and celebrate your child’s efforts (no matter how small they may be to you). Showing your child that you’re proud of their achievements will not only make them feel so loved, but you are also instilling the self love they need to keep on shining like the star that they are.

Embrace their uniqueness

Your child is so special and one of a kind, so let them know that by helping them embrace their uniqueness! Encourage them to be proud of their individual traits, interests, and talents. Teach them that it’s okay to be different and that being themselves is what makes them special. By embracing their individuality, children will learn to love and accept themselves for who they are, and that’s a valuable foundation for a lifetime of self-love.

Teach them to be kind to themselves

Just as we teach our children to be kind to others, don’t forget to also teach them to be kind to themselves. Encourage your little one to talk to themselves in a positive way and avoid negative self-talk. Remind them that they are worthy and deserving of love, just the way they are.

And while you’re at it, make sure to throw in a few self-love affirmations for good measure! Teach them to repeat positive statements like “I am enough”, “I am worthy”, and “I am loved”. This will help them internalise these positive beliefs and build a strong foundation of self-love that will serve them well throughout their lives. It is up to us to really cultivate the power of self-love in our children.

Encourage physical activity

Have you ever dragged yourself for a work out sesh, only to find out that it feels so good afterwards? Exercise is really a great way to boost self-esteem and confidence. Encourage your child to participate in physical activities that they enjoy, whether it’s dance, sports or simply playing outside. This will not only help them love their bodies, but also help them build a positive relationship with physical activity.

Encourage a growth mindset

One very important lesson is to teach children that everyone makes mistakes and that it is totally okay to fail. Try sharing your own personal stories with them that helps them understand that failure is an opportunity to learn and grow, not a reflection of their worth as a person. By encouraging a growth mindset, you can help your child see challenges as opportunities to grow and improve.

Promote positive body image

As our kids grow, it’s inevitable that they are going to be constantly bombarded with images of perfection in the media, which is a sure way to cause negative body image and low self-esteem. Try your best to encourage your child to focus on their own health and well-being, rather than trying to meet impossible standards set by others. Always remind them that they are so beautiful and loved. And it is super important to help them understand that everyone is different and beautiful in their own way.

Allow for independence

Encourage children to make decisions for themselves and to trust their instincts. If they are too young, give them simple choices and allow them to have the freedom to choose. This will help them build self-confidence and self-esteem. Give children opportunities to try new things and make their own choices, even if it means making mistakes along the way.

Nurture empathy

Children who are able to empathise with others tend to have higher self-esteem and a stronger sense of self-worth. Encourage children to see things from other people’s perspectives, to be kind and understanding, and to stand up for what is right (even if it doesn’t make them the ‘cool kid’).

Create a supportive environment

Create a home environment that is supportive, loving, and accepting. Encourage open communication and make sure your child feels heard and understood. Ask them about their day and allow them to share with you the ups and downs of their day. Show your love and support for your child, no matter what.

Don’t compare them to others

No comparison, all celebration! Help your kiddo build their self-esteem by focusing on their own strengths and encouraging them to set and achieve their own goals. Comparing your child to the girl next door is only going to have a negative impact on their self-esteem and self-worth. Be mindful to only focus on your child’s strengths and help them build on those. Encourage them to set their own goals and celebrate their own successes (and with your as their no.1 cheerleader!).

Make time for fun

Don’t forget to give your child a break from the daily grind and have some fun together! Remember to set aside time for play and activities that bring a smile to their face. When they’re having a blast, they’ll love themselves even more and feel like confident superstars!

There is truly no greater joy than seeing our beautiful children flourish and shine with confidence and self-assuredness. When children feel loved and valued, they are able to unleash their full potential and reach new heights. And, as they continue to grow and evolve, their self love and self-worth will serve as a constant source of comfort and encouragement, helping them navigate the ups and downs of life with grace and resilience. Mums and Dads, let us embrace this beautiful opportunity to nurture self love in our children, and know how lucky we are to be able to help them grow and flourish in all the ways we never could have imagined.

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