This love month, we’re focusing on teaching self-love to children. The word “love” gets thrown around so much this time of the year, so we need to make sure that children have a clear grasp of the meaning of love that begins with themselves. After all, a loving relationship with one’s self can have a ripple effect on others.
What is self-love?
Self-love means accepting yourself fully. It is not a state of feeling good but rather, is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support one’s physical, psychological, and spiritual growth. It means nurturing your own happiness, growth, and well-being.
Why is it important to teach self-love to children?
Not having any models for self-love or not having anyone teach children the importance of being good to themselves while growing up can make them question its value. Without it, children may fall into people-pleasing habits and be more likely to put up with mistreatment and abuse from others. As parents, teaching self-love to your kids allows them to set their boundaries, fulfill their goals, and create healthy relationships with the people around them.
Parents should consider that teaching self-love does not happen overnight. Like other essential life skills, it takes time and practice for children to learn. Hence, it is good to start from an early age at home as well as in school or in a daycare center as part of holistic early childhood education. As an early childhood learning center, we at Celebree School believe in preparing children to be contributing members of society. That begins with teaching them to value themselves.
The benefits of teaching self-love to children
Children who have a positive view of themselves are more likely to have a growth mindset. That means they are likely to try new things, take on challenges, strive to do their best, and cope with and learn from their mistakes better. It makes life less stressful for them and they are not afraid to ask for help when needed. As a result, they are likely to do well at home and in school and are more inclined to develop meaningful friendships.
How parents can help children develop self-love
Teaching your child about self-love is not as complicated as it may seem. Here are some ways you can get them started:
- Model the love. If you want your children to learn self-love, you have to show them how it’s done first. You cannot teach children something that you don’t know yourself. Parental behavior is one of the biggest influences on children’s development. If you always practice self-love and self-care, your child will mirror this behavior.
- Practice self-care. The World Health Organization defines self-care as the ability of individuals, families, and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider”. With this definition, self-care is doing things for yourself that let you live a holistically healthy life. Here are some self-care ideas for kids:
- Eating a healthy snack
- Drinking a glass of water
- Going for a walk
- Playing with friends
- Taking a bath
- Listening to their favorite song
- Reading a book
- Drawing a picture
- Talking to a family member or a friend about their day
- Taking a nap
- Encourage positive self-talk. Self-love is treating yourself the way you would a friend. Through positive self-talk, we can teach children to talk to themselves the way they would speak to a friend—always with kindness. Encourage them to compliment, comfort, and motivate themselves.
If you’d like more parenting tips ideas, Celebree Schools developed this early childhood parent resources section.