At Winston Hills, we believe that no two children are the same and we cherish the diverse culture, values and experiences of all our children.

Here’s a few ways parents can encourage children to embrace their individuality and build their self-esteem as they journey through preschool and beyond.

1) Encourage their interests and talents

Parents love to see their children light-up when we show them the things that we love, from our favourite childhood book or taking them to see our footy team. Introducing children to the things we like, is an important part of bonding with your child and creating your family culture.

However, paying close attention to the things your child loves to do and the things they excel at, will help them to develop their self identity in the family and build their esteem as they excitedly introduce you to the things they love.

Listening to your child tell you about their day, asking an educator what seems to interest your child or simply watching them play and seeing the toys/games they are drawn to, will give you an indication of what they like and help you to find ways to support and encourage them to do this more.  

2) Allowing your child to be more independent 

It can be so easy to jump in and help our children as they put on their clothes or try to work out a tricky toy, especially if we are in rush and trying to get out the door on time.

Allowing your child plenty of space and opportunity to try for themselves first will help them develop their problem solving skills and allow them to feel a sense of achievement.

You can help your child to do things independently by pausing/observing before you jump in and allowing more time in the household routine for them to attempt independent tasks.

If you find your child always asks you to help them first, you can gently encourage your child, by saying ‘Why don’t you have a go first and then I’ll help if you get stuck’.

3) Setting aside time for ‘free play’

Everyone is busy and even with more time saving devices, we have still managed to fill our lives with more things to do. Being busy all the time can lead to over scheduling our children or trying to fit them into our already packed routine.

Now more than ever, it’s increasingly important to find times for our children to play un-interrupted, with whatever they choose and however they choose to play. 

‘Free play’ is an excellent opportunity for children to get to know themselves better and be in touch with how they are feeling that day.

If your child is prone to saying they are bored. ‘Free play’ is an excellent way for them to foster creativity and learn to engage with themselves by imagining, inventing or creating new things.

4) Giving you child a space to call their own

Establishing a space a child can call their own, gives children an opportunity to create an environment they want to be in and a safe space where they can be themsleves.  This could be in their bedroom or a small ‘drawing’ table in the corner of the main living area.

If you are redecorating their room or reorganising their space, getting your child involved in where toys are stored or where the bed might go, is a brilliant way of giving them an opportunity to express their individual desires. 

Also, if you can be respectful of their space, by doing little things like knocking before you enter, then this will allow your child to feel safe in that space and also learn boundaries around the areas of the home that you call your own. 

5) Actively praise individuality 

Children often try to identify similarities and differences around them in order to make sense of the world.

You can support you childs understanding of what makes them special, by speaking about the talents or skills that they excel at and speaking about the talents and skills of other people in the family.

You can also use bedtime stories as an opportunity to illustrate how we are all unique and how we need different skills to get a task done. You can show them roadworks or a building site in action, where they can see all the different roles people play on the site to complete the project. 

Identifying to your child, the benefits of individual skills is a positive way to speak about differences,  for example someone who walks more slowly has plenty of time to appreciate everything around them and someone who is fast is brilliant at getting lots of things done at once.
 

We hope that these tips, have given you some helpful pointers to encourage you child’s individuality and build on their self esteem.

‘Be Yourself’ is a core value at Winston Hills and we aim to provide safe, equitable and accepting learning environments that reflect and enrich the lives and identities of children and families.

Our focus is to nurture children as they build their self-esteem, and to support and reinforce an emerging sense of self-identity, belonging and resilience. We truly believe in each child’s unique capacity to be amazing.

 

Read more about Our Values