13 - 15 Months

Secrets to building your toddler’s self-esteem 

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Has your toddler started saying “Me!” and “Mine!” or calling themselves by their own name? These are signs that they’re entering a new phase of self awareness. As they recognize themselves as independent from you and other caregivers, you have an opportunity to help them cultivate healthy self-esteem.

4 ways to help your toddler develop healthy self-esteem

1. Help them feel capable

As toddlers discover their sense of self, they also experience new feelings, like pride. When your toddler fits a tricky puzzle piece into a puzzle and grins at you, name that feeling for them. “Wow! You tried so hard, and you did it. I bet you feel so proud!” 

2. Help them persist

The next time your toddler wants to do what you’re doing, give them a chance to try. For example, provide a little pitcher of water so they can help water the plants. Resist the urge to step in and help, even if they spill. As they keep trying, they’ll get the sense of pride and accomplishment that comes from hard work. (For more ideas, check out this list of Montessori practical life activities for toddlers.)

3. Help them feel safe

Boundaries help your toddler feel safe and cared for, which is the foundation of their self-esteem. You can respect your toddler’s choices—yes, they may have the green cup—while you maintain clear limits—no, they may not pour their drink on the floor.

Acknowledge your child’s frustration as you set limits and help them find other ways to practice the skills they’re trying to master. “You really want to pour your milk on the floor, but that makes a big mess. Let’s clean it up together, and then you can practice pouring water at the sink.” 

4. Help them feel loved

When your toddler makes a mistake, cuddling, hugging and other kinds of reassurance are key to building their self-esteem. Timeouts don’t work at this age. Instead, if your toddler draws on the wall with crayons, firmly let them know the limit while reminding them that they are loved—“I can’t let you color on the wall. Coloring on the wall damages it. Let’s find some paper you can draw on instead.”

Keeping your cool in a moment like this can be a challenge, but toddlers, just like adults, need to feel loved and worthy of affection, even when they make a mistake. When you show your toddler that they’re loved, they begin to see themselves as lovable ❤️ 

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Posted in: 13 - 15 Months, 16 - 18 Months, 19 - 21 Months, 22 - 24 Months, Self Esteem, Social Emotional, Lovevery App, Parenting, Confidence, Child Development

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