In a world that can be hard and cold, I have seven simple tips to help children recognize their worth.
The last few years have taken a lot from our children. It took away school, birthday parties, and playdates. It even took away some special family holidays. It is easy to see how kids began doubting their self-worth when they were isolated and unable to connect to the world.
Seven Simple Tips to Help Children Recognize their Worth
Note: This is a guest article written by Children’s author, Abbey Feldkamp (see the end of the article).
Through the pandemic, I saw my children suffer, and I saw other children suffer. I saw their lights diminish and their faith in themselves grow dim.
They struggled in (online) school, and they struggled to find confidence in social interactions because they were shut away from the world for so long. I felt their childhood slowly being stripped away.
Growing up is hard enough on its own. When you add in the varying level of social skill development and coping with the ever-changing world around you, it can really affect a child’s self-esteem.
It does not take the world long to tell your children who they are and who they are not. They need a strong compass.
Children are such wildly intricate, amazing, and complex beings. Honestly, when I sit and observe my children one-on-one, it floors me. These little beings perceive a lot more than we give them credit for, and they are SO resilient.
Be Relentless in Praising Accomplishments
We were at the park this morning and my daughter crashed to the ground swinging from the monkey bars. Like a feet-over-head total digger. She laid, stunned for a few moments while I looked her over.
Thankfully she was fine, but it shook her up. She ran around for a few minutes and kept glancing back at those bars.
Eventually she tentatively walked over and began at the first bar. This time she got through them without falling!
I walked over and knelt to her level and asked her to look at me. I told her how strong and brave I thought she was for trying them again shortly after falling. I explained how proud I was that she faced something scary and completed it all on her own! She was persistent, and she didn’t give up. I made sure to speak that to her.
Be mindful and watch for situations like this where you can praise them for making these kinds of decisions on their own. Try not to dismiss things that seem easy, but bring attention and acknowledge them in a sincere way.
Teach Them to Care for Themselves
One of the best ways of showing children they’re worthy is to teach them to take care of themselves. This includes their bodies, minds, and souls. A well-rested, clean, and well-fed body will perform better in most situations. It’s never too early to teach your children the importance of taking time to care for their bodies.
This might seem extremely simple, but I find myself realizing that I’m assuming my kids understand certain basic tasks and later find out they don’t. Just last week my son asked me how to wash his face. It threw me off for a second until I realized that I hadn’t talked him through that yet, so how would he know how to do something he’s never done before? A simple thing to us can be foreign to them.
Start by helping them make a daily routine checklist of everything they need to do each night before bed and in the morning when they wake up. Ask your child what they need to do to care for their body. Let them have some control. After you finished, post the list somewhere where they can see it. Even if they can’t read it, you can read it to them until they have their routine down.
Another way to teach this is to allow them to observe you getting ready. The best leader they have is you, and they follow what they see. Give them simple explanations of what you are doing and why: “I’m washing my face so it is clean and fresh for me to start the morning.”
To care for their minds and their soul, use praise and worship. More on this below.
Give Them your Best
The next on of my seven simple tips to help children recognize their worth is this:
Be present. I have a rule each morning that I don’t use my phone until they are out the door for school or at their first activity of the day.
It is amazing how much smoother and more peaceful our mornings are since I started doing this! When we focus 100% on them, they feel fulfilled, and in turn, so do we.
It can be so easy to rush through the morning with the fleeting thought that you’ll spend time with them after school. Start the day with your attention on them and it will be the jumpstart they need to get through their day.
As parents, we are the first minutes of their day. They don’t have phones or agendas or anything to attend to; it’s just us. We can set them up for a day of success—or a day of failure. Let those precious few minutes be about starting them off on the right foot. Those minutes will be the only anchor for their day. It will be what gets them through when life gets tough while they’re away from you. Make it a rich, positive connection.
Prayer plays an important role in the mental well-being of children because it’s an outlet for their concerns, worries, and feelings of gratitude. Being able to speak through their fears or worries can lift a heavy weight off them.
One of the best ways you can help children see their value is to speak God’s truth into them. Pray over them so they can learn by example.
Ask your kids if they will pray at dinner or bedtime. Explain the importance of placing their worries at God’s feet to carry for them.
When they have feelings of thanksgiving, expressing thanks in prayer is a great way to practice gratefulness and general satisfaction in life.
Prayer can seem daunting and awkward at first so make it clear that there isn’t a right or wrong way to pray. God just wants to hear from us, in whatever way we choose to do so. If you’re a guideline parent, try this:
- Start with praise, thank God for something you enjoy (i.e. Thank you, Jesus, for my friends at school.).
- Ask Him to forgive you for something that’s troubling your heart (i.e. Please forgive me for fighting with my brother this morning.).
- Present your requests (i.e. Please help Grandma get better from her sickness.).
- End the prayer with, “In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Again, prayer does not have to look like anything specific, that’s just a guideline if you’re feeling like you need somewhere to start from.
Play Christian radio in the car and at your home. The uplifting, wholesome content helps shape their mental health and give them the confidence they need to feel valued in Jesus.
You won’t have to worry about language or inappropriate conversations, and it may prompt meaningful conversations and questions you wouldn’t otherwise discuss.
There is also no better feeling than seeing your child sing along and worship Jesus! True, simple, wholesome, and genuine worship is life-giving.
God made them perfect. He loves them as they are. It’s okay to fail. They are forgiven and loved no matter what. These are the messages they’ll continually hear from Christian radio. These are lessons that reflect the true value of children, and there is no greater truth than that.
Do self-worth strengthening activities
Sitting down and focusing on what exactly makes your child special will cultivate a strong parent-child bond and help boost their self-image. This is a great activity to develop stronger emotional connections with loved ones. Here is an example of my self-worth strengthening worksheets:
Another way to strengthen your child’s worth at home is by showing them they are an important part of your family. We do family connection activities with our kids, and they love to be included in family decision-making.
Speaking about the things most important to your family and including your children in that conversation shows them that they are important to you. I encourage you to verbalize this to them as you go through the worksheet. I’ve created a Family Cornerstone Activity for you to complete with your family.
I’ll include our family’s cornerstones to use as you work through yours:
Start a worth journal
A worth journal is another one of my seven simple tips to help children recognize their worth.
Being known, heard, and loved are basic human needs. Sometimes kids don’t have the skills or awareness to express whatever complex emotions they are experiencing. A worth journal is an excellent tool for giving them to chance to explore these feelings privately.
Write down a few prompts and leave the journal on their bed. If they aren’t big enough to write, you can read the question to them and have them draw a picture of how they are feeling. Older kids can journal their thought as an outlet for whatever they are going through.
Ask permission to read their entries. Most kids want to be seen and heard. If they don’t that’s okay too! A journal can reveal what is on their heart and open conversations you didn’t know needed to be had. It really is an amazing tool for building rich connections with your kids, and for helping them cope with tough or unfamiliar situations.
It’s also a great way to practice mindfulness and gratefulness. Be sure to include gratitude prompts to give them the time and space to reflect gratitude in their life. Feelings of thankfulness lead to more happiness and satisfaction. Our mind is a powerful tool. Let’s help them shape theirs in positive ways to help our children see their value.
Look for additional resources that support your goal!
After the struggle my children when through during the pandemic, I was inspired to write a book to let them know just how Wonderful, Marvelous, and Magnificent they truly are! Not just my kids but for all the kids around the world who have felt the pressure of these last few years.
I knew I needed to bring them a story about just how amazing and resilient they can be, a beautiful, feel-good rhyming story about truly how wonderful, marvelous, and magnificent kids are! This is how the story began.
“Wonderful, Marvelous, Magnificent You” was crafted with breathtaking, colorful imagery and a story that captivates the reader’s attention. This book beautifully illustrates just how special God made children of every culture and ability. It reinforces the solid truth that regardless of any circumstance, they are loved unconditionally. It is diverse, inclusive, and wholesome. It is a great tool for teaching about Jesus in a simple, relatable way.
You can find out more here: www.instagram.com/abbeycreativeco
Or order on Amazon here: https://tinyurl.com/3rkhyck7
A Message from Jodi: I immediately fell in love with this book and the artwork when Abbey shared it with me. Her genuine heart for her message is what made me want to support her in providing a space for her to share. I purchased my own copy today, and I am excited to gift it this Christmas. I am hoping you will join me in supporting her work.