How To Increase Self-Love in Kids

how to increase self-love in kids

Learn how to increase self-love in kids

February is all about love and valentines. There are parties, valentine exchanges, and heart-shaped boxes of candy. The focus is often on ways kids can be kind to others. They may be encouraged to make and give valentine cards, to remember friends and loved ones, and to share appreciation and gratitude for teachers or community helpers.

Kids should foster friendships and nurture others with kind acts and gratitude. But what’s often missing in this month of love, is teaching and encouraging kids to love themselves, especially all parts of themselves.

When kids learn to love themselves, they feel whole inside, and experience a lot of other benefits.

What are the benefits of self-love for kids?

When kids don’t love themselves you may hear them engage in self-criticism by talking negatively about themselves and their abilities. They may compare themselves to others and share feelings of hopelessness or pessimism. These feelings can lead to mental health challenges like anxiety and depression.

And kids already have a lot to deal with. We may not be able to change the things that kids go through, but we can give them tools to build resilience so they can grow through the things don’t go their way. Having a positive view of themselves, their body image, and the essence of what makes them special and unique enables kids to better manage difficult situations.

Kids who love themselves are less self-critical, less anxious, and often less angry. They have more confidence, more resilience, and a more positive mindset. When kids love themselves, they are able to bounce back much easier and handle life’s big and little challenges.

Model self-compassion

One of the best ways to encourage self-compassion is to model it for kids. Don’t criticize yourself, your mistakes, or the way you feel. It’s okay for you, too, to be anxious, upset, frustrated…none of us ever feels like sunshine and roses all the time, and that is okay.

When you give yourself grace for losing your temper, making a mistake or not being patient, kids notice. They learn that all feelings are valid, no one is perfect, and we can treat ourselves with kindness, no matter what.

Practice loving-kindness meditation

Another great way to encourage self-compassion is to teach children how to do a metta, or Loving-Kindness Meditation. In this gentle practice, little ones send love to themselves, loved ones and friends, and all beings on the planet. Loving-Kindness Meditations are linked to reducing anxiety and depression, and they help children (and adults) love themselves and others.

Use affirmations and positive self-talk

Affirmations and positive self-talk work very well when kids believe them. Sometimes these practices can become a form of toxic positivity, when, for example, a child doesn’t believe they are being validated, and they don’t believe the words they are saying. For example, it is better to have a child affirm, “Each day I am learning to do new things” versus “I am great at mental math.” If a child doesn’t believe what the words mean, affirmations don’t work.

Positive self-talk can help kids reframe negative words, curb catastrophic thinking, and see things in a new, and more positive light.

Teach body positivity

Teaching kids to love their bodies is especially important for kids with special needs, disabilities, and illnesses who may feel badly that their bodies can’t run and jump and play like other kid’s bodies do. Help children find things that their body can do, and focus on those things. They may not be able to run, but their arms are strong and help them move their wheelchair. They may not see, hear, feel, move or experience the world they way others do, but they have their own way, and that way is right and beautiful for them.

Encourage being your own best friend

If all of us can learn to treat ourselves the way we would our very best friends, the world would be a much kinder, gentler place. When we can find the nurturing, support, friendship and kindness we crave from others, within ourselves, we are happier, healthier, and feel whole. This feeling is like a ripple effect, going from us out into the world.

Wee Meditate

Wee Meditate teaches meditation and mindfulness skills like self-love in a magical storybook world. Join today so your little one can enjoy learning self-love with Dragon and all his forest friends. Log in or sign up to start listening.