A quick Google search for “Christmas Gift for Child” and up pop websites advertising things such as Minecraft Lego sets that the distributor suggests can be combined with other sets to create a Minecraft world, Hot Wheel’s race tracks complete with 2 quick kick loops, Disney’s Frozen plastic dolls featuring a “multi-colored bodice,” black and silver ride-on cars described as “sleek” that are capable of achieving speeds of 12mph, and a slew of other fancifully packaged options that will, undoubtedly, grace the tree skirts and stockings of many American children this Christmas season. If Amazon’s website sees as much traffic this year as they did on Cyber Monday of 2013, sales will reach an average of 426 items purchased per second. The marketing masterminds behind kid’s toys and games will surely rake in billions again this year and many of us will do our part in supporting American economy this holiday season. But the best gifts in life really are free…
Dr. Baker’s Top Tips for Instilling a Healthy Sense of Self-Worth in Your Child:
- Be a Good Role Model. When speaking about yourself in front of your child, avoid self-deprecating statements. Instead, speak openly about what gives you purpose and your strengths. When you make a mistake or wish to improve on a skill, speak about what was learned from your experience, how your current knowledge will impact future choices and what you propose doing to improve on your skills.
- Recognize and Embrace Natural Talents. Given enough opportunities for shining moments, a child’s overall self-confidence can only go up. If you notice that your child is especially talented at science, for example, enroll her in a science camp or club where her talents will blossom and be appreciated by others. Especially for a child who has developed an unbalanced sense of herself as incapable, this will tip the scales back and help her recognize herself as a multi-faceted person with strengths and weaknesses.
- Set Him Up for Success. Remind yourself what expectations are realistic for your child, which may not be the same as what other kids his age are doing. While your neighbor’s 4-year-old may be capable of sitting still and keeping quiet while her mother makes a 10-minute phone call, many kids at this age may not be. Prepare your child for things that you know may be tricky for him, avoid situations where failure is inevitable and brainstorm ideas in advance as to what will help him persevere through difficult parts of his day that are just unavoidable.
- Give Her Responsibilities. By asking your child to contribute to the household in manageable and realistic ways, you send a message that she has valuable contributions to make and that you trust in her ability to participate in meaningful ways. Choose tasks that she is already drawn to and has demonstrated an ability to complete successfully. Don’t worry about perfection and refrain from intervening too much to reinforce the message of trust.
Written by: Brandy Baker, PsyD, Clinical Psychologist