In this post, I want to share a parenting tip, but first I want to tell you a story. The other day when I was checking my daughter’s spelling homework I couldn’t help but smile. You might already know part of this story if we are friends on Facebook, but I wanted to share the full story here. Every week my daughter Genevieve has to write out each of her spelling words in a sentence, and two of the sentences that she wrote this week really stood out to me and had me thinking. The first word was “important” and the sentence she wrote was “I’m very important to the world.” Yes. She gets it. When I was 8 years old, the sad truth is that I felt more bothersome than anything. The funny thing is that I have never directly told any of my daughters that they are very important to the world. I know for a fact that I have never said, “Genevieve you are very important to the world.” Instead, I have shown her that she is important to the world. That’s much more powerful.
The second sentence that stood out to me was using the word “protector” and what she wrote was “God is our protector of the world.” Yes, again. She really gets it. I can remember when I was young, I would worry every night about so many scenarios that could go wrong and problems that could arise. That’s because I never really felt protected and I never knew that I didn’t have to worry because I had a protector. Again, I know that I have never actually said these words to any of my daughters. But, I do know that I have showed them.
One of the best examples of how I show these truths to my daughters on a daily basis is our nighttime routine. When my girls get into bed we say a prayer together. Then, I tell them something that they did during the day that made me proud. For example, I might say “I noticed you reading a book to your little sister earlier today. You are such a great big sister and I am so proud of you for taking the time to do something for her.” Or, “You were so brave at the dentist today. I know you were scared and didn’t really didn’t want to go, but I am proud of you for doing it anyway.” I really believe that taking a little bit of time to point out something good makes a huge difference in the self-esteem of my girls. They really look forward to this time of night and no matter how busy the day was, I always make time to give my girls a little praise at the end of the day. It’s a simple way for all of us to take a step back and just appreciate each other.
So my tip is show it, don’t say it. Something as simple as taking a little time to appreciate and recognize each other can go a long way.
And my question is, how do you show it? What is your nighttime routine with your kids? Any fun, creative ideas to build self-esteem? Let me know if you try our routine and if you start noticing a difference in how your children treat themselves and others!