Nurturing self-esteem in children as family and/or as a photographer

This past weekend I was reminded of how important a healthy self-image and positive self-esteem is for our little ones.  This is how valuable a child see themselves- how they think about themselves-  the likes and dislikes, how capable they think about themselves- I can and I can’t, all while feeling loved.  A healthy self-esteem is achieved when there is a good balance between feeling loved and feeling capable.

Children with low self-esteem/self-image

For children with low self esteem, they lack the confidence of “being capable” and are often hesitant about his or her own abilities.   They are often uncomfortable in new situations/activities, critical of him/herself and often have negative self-talk (e.g. calling oneself stupid, fat, ugly).  All of which makes it difficult for them to make friends.   It has been shown that low self esteem is related to adolescent/adult depression and risky behaviours.

How can we, as family, help build healthy self-esteem in little ones?

  • Be positive and encourage in every aspect
  • Model self-esteem- Kids love to copycat, show them how you are strong and confident
  • Squash the myths of imperfection
  • Encourage independence
  • Create and maintain a safe, loving home
  • Create fun and simple activities to do as a family
  • Let kids help with chores and compliment on the great job
  • Say I love you often
  • Say I love you more
  • Let them teach you something
  • Avoid negative comments about your body or criticizing your eating habits
  • Learn a new skill with them

How can we, as photographers, help a little one with low self-esteem feel comfortable in front of the camera?

  • Keep family near and having fun
  • Explain equipment in the studio and how it works
  • Compliment wardrobe/hair
  • Model self-esteem- be positive and confident
  • Let them see pictures on the back of the camera
  • Reinforce how great of job they are doing
  • Let them take pictures of you
  • Be positive and encouraging
  • Ask them for ideas on how they should pose or what props to use
  • Encourage questions/concerns

How do you encourage healthy self esteem in your little ones?   I would love to continuously add to this list.

Helpful Resources

Canadian Mental Health Association-  Children and self-esteem

Kidshealth.org- Developing your Child’s Self-Esteem

Dove’s Self-Esteem Toolkit and Resources

Simple kids- The Pie approach-  Teaching children how to handle their emotions

Do you know of any other helpful resources to add?

 

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