How To Teach Your Child To Love Themselves: 5 Effective Ways

Are you wondering how to teach your child to love themselves? Are you wondering what the benefits are when you teach your children to love themselves from a young age?

I’m sure you’re wondering what you can do as a parent to help your child understand self-love from a young age.

First, love yourself. You’ve heard this being said many times when you were growing up but nobody really taught you how to love yourself. That’s the reason why I, who come from Gen X, feel that we need to start our kids young. But how exactly do you teach them? 

Let’s dive into some of the key aspects you can keep in mind when choosing whichever way to teach your child to love themselves.

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I’m Jasveena and I have been blogging since 2013, documenting my experience as well as helpful professional resources and tips I found online in seeking meaningful relationships and connections, and I am here to share them with you so that you are not alone in cruising through this journey called life that may seem like a lonely path.

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My Experience

How I wish our parents had a crash course on “how to teach your child to love themselves”. Well, it’s a bit too late now considering it’s 2024 and I’m 35 – 35 and single.

The self-love concept and focusing on how to heal our emotions and parenting our own emotions were never something that I heard of when I was growing up. All I knew was to ace the exam papers and I was told that I would have the brightest future ever possible. 

For the longest time, I struggled with regulating my emotions with the difficulties that come along with life as I stepped into my adulthood and moved to live away from my parents.

I still remember that it was the first ever infatuation/love and the breakup that really tore me into pieces because I was not sure how to deal with people’s breadcrumbing and ghosting – well of course those terms did not even exist back then.

And then, the other struggle was to make myself feel accepted by people and friends in general. This includes wanting to impress people and always wanting to have a lot of companions around me. I did not know how to be comfortable staying alone. Nobody taught me that.

It was only in my late 20s that I started to understand a little bit about self-love and how to regulate my own emotions because I was not even aware that I was not in control of my emotions. Then, came yoga practices and a lot of readings on relevant topics that really made me feel I did not know anything much about self-love.

I also had to go for therapy in order to understand further how to regulate my own emotions although it was a painful but fruitful process.

So, if only somebody taught us about self-love from a young age like how we wished schools taught us how to do taxes and emotional regulations along with their normal boring syllabus, we would have better handled our challenges.

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5 Ways: How To Teach Your Child To Love Themselves

1. Encourage Positive Self-Talk

I think a lot of us struggled with replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts. Actually, we cannot undo negative thoughts. We can only override negative thoughts with more positive thoughts. That is the reason why it is said that for every negative thought, you should have three positive thoughts to reinforce positivity in your mind.

Good habits like journaling will help your child to understand how their moods affect their behaviors. Instead of saying “I am sad”, teach them to say “I am feeling sad” so that they don’t internalize their feelings. 

Children need to know that feelings come and go, and they will be fine. It’s the confidence of knowing they can handle whatever comes their way that will be a guide to handle bigger life challenges as they grow up.

2. Lead By Example

Are you reading, practicing self-love, eating healthy food, and doing the right things in front of your kids? You don’t actually need to think about how to teach your child to love themselves. You just need to lead by being a good example to your kids. 

How you love yourself and make the right choices in life will teach your kids how to live life by following their intuition.

3. Teach The Importance of Emotional Regulation

This one is the hardest thing to do even as an adult. Most of us struggle or learn the hard way to regulate our emotions as adults because we were not taught how to do that as kids.

Do we encourage our kids to meditate with us although they don’t know the importance of meditation? Do we practice yoga in practice sitting with ourselves when we are feeling down?

I regularly go for yoga classes and this is something that I noticed myself among my friends who are yogis and have kids. Their kids tend to follow what they do at yoga classes when they bring their children along.

Practicing yoga, engaging with our body, going for a walk, and journaling our emotions and thoughts will help to regulate our emotions. Kids may not really be able to do the big things like literally writing down their emotions.

Doing small things like going for a walk or just sitting quietly when they are in distress will help them to get to know about emotional regulation activities.

Starting small even if they are doing everything incorrectly will help to expose them to these activities and as they grow up they will understand the importance of it.

4. Promote Self-Discovery

How to teach your child to love themselves? One of the excellent ways to do it is to promote self-discovery among kids. This is to let them explore different activities like singing, writing, building AI models, and just about anything that they like to explore at a young age.

This is going to help them big time when they grow up because they will understand that these activities will help them to make themselves happy. 

Some 30 years ago, we were all very focused on education and we probably were not encouraged to focus on hobbies and self-discovery activities.

However, understanding what makes us happy and doing the things that are fulfilling is extremely important as adults and if children start at a young age to discover them, it will help them throughout the teenagers and as they enter into adulthood.

5. Set Healthy Boundaries

Setting healthy boundaries helps children understand how to love themselves because if someone disappoints them or is trying to take advantage of them, they will set a healthy boundary with them and stop interacting with them unnecessarily.

If you are an adult and you’ve been stuck in relationships, you will understand the importance of having healthy boundaries and how to identify people who are not good for you. This is not just for romantic relationships but also for all the other forms of connections that we make with people in general.

Children need to understand that if someone does not reciprocate love or causes harm to their mental health, they need to set healthy boundaries with them.

Why Start Self-Love Young?

Starting self-love at a young age has a lot of benefits because children will be more resilient and they will be equipped better in order to face challenges in adulthood. 

A lot of us who were only exposed to the concept of self-love in our adulthood actually struggle quite a bit in order to love ourselves or maybe he would have even loved the wrong person in our lives and learned lessons the hard way.

If children start to understand the challenges that they will face in the future, it will sort of prepare them for the future. 

Rather than waiting for something to happen to them, what we can do is to tell them that they would get hurt in life but they are equipped with the knowledge to come out of it and triumph in life.

FAQs

What causes low self-esteem in a child?

Low self-esteem in a child is brought about by feeling unsupported or even being criticized by crucial people in their lives, especially their parents. Children seek validation from parents and if parents fail to acknowledge their accomplishments, talents, and abilities, children would feel that they are not important.

How to help someone who doesn’t love themself?

  1. We need to help them by being a good listener and validating their feelings. People whose emotions are acknowledged understand that it is okay to feel what they are feeling.
  2. For every negative thought, they need three or four positive thoughts in order to override the negative thought. 
  3. We can encourage them to write down their emotions and remind them that they are not what they feel. 
  4. We can also help them to seek professional help and remind them that it is okay to seek help. 
  5. Most importantly, we need to be there for people who are struggling to love themselves.

How to develop self-love?

We can develop self-love by ensuring we speak kindly to ourselves, challenging ourselves to achieve bigger accomplishments, identifying activities that make us happy, and taking care of our bodies and the way we feel.

How do I rebuild my child’s self-esteem?

  • Praise them when they need encouragement and motivation. 
  • Ask for their opinions and what they feel on a daily basis. 
  • Bring them out to do various activities where they meet different people 
  • Being a good role model and practicing high self-esteem will set an example for them
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