One of the most important and meaningful relationships your child will ever have is with themselves. The art of self love begins early in life and with the right encouragement, resources and examples of what a healthy relationship with their mind, body and spirit looks like. Exploring different age appropriate activities can help children develop skills and an understanding early on for things like confidence, self respect, positive body image, and more.
Remember, as adults there are so many little ways to help foster self love in the children in your life. Simple gestures like nurturing and supporting their interests, asking their opinions on things, sharing how much you like and love things about them. Additionally, showcasing what a healthy relationship with yourself looks like can be a beautiful mirror for them to see how they should acknowledge and treat themselves.
Whether you have a toddler or a twelve year old, here are a few different simple activities rooted in self love that you can practice this month with your child. If you find a few that you like for your little guy or girl, make sure to save them to try again in the future or share with friends!
Practicing positive affirmations both written and spoken can make a deep impact on children’s view of themselves and their capabilities. You can purchase affirmation cards or create your own printables with affirmations like “I can do hard things”, “I am strong and brave”, “I am a good friend to others” and other age appropriate sentiments. You can place these on their bedside table and choose a different one to read each night at bedtime or keep one on the bathroom mirror to remind them how amazing they are each morning.
Self Affirming Books
What your child reads becomes ingrained in their memory over time, so think about what kind of messages about self love and self esteem you can incorporate into their reading. A few suggestions that include positive messaging and diversity are “I’m Gonna Like Me: Letting Off a Little Self-Esteem” by Jamie Lee Curtis and “I am Enough” by Grace Byers. Create dialogue with your kids about what they are reading and ask them questions about the things they like and love about themselves, you may find the answers to be super sweet and even silly.
There’s a very interesting evolution in human nature that starts as young as 12 months old, where we start to crave independence- even when we really need support from others. Finding age appropriate activities that allow and encourage independence can do wonders for making your child feel wildly capable and proud. Assigning a few simple house chores, letting them tell the waiter their own food order, helping them to learn how to introduce themselves to new people and other small intentional opportunities really help.
Self Esteem Crafts
Art will always be a powerful tool in self expression and children often feel naturally connected to creation. Sit down together with some paper and crayons or markers to create self portraits or doodle some of your favorite things. Create and print out a paper with the alphabet on it to create an “A to Z, Amazing Me” activity with them. You can brainstorm what they find amazing about themselves for each letter and doodle a coordinating image or write it down, depending on their age.
Remember, self love can be a difficult journey for a lot of grown ups. Prioritizing the discovery and progression of positive self esteem and confidence in the unique person your child is, can give them a huge leg up in the world as they grow. Each season from toddler to child and preteen to teen will have new opportunities to discuss and discover new things they love about themselves and you’ll be there to help them appreciate them.