How to Teach Positive Self-Concepts to Preschoolers
Self-concept is a person's view of himself, including beliefs about physical attributes, personality traits and intelligence. According to Scholastic magazine (scholastic.com), during the preschool years children become more independent and curious about their skills and their surroundings, so it is crucial that adults respond positively to help children to build a positive self-concept and feel good about themselves.
Help children develop the attitude to succeed. Tell them they can do anything if they try and that it is perfectly acceptable to make mistakes. Encourage a child who falls down during a race and cheer him on if he wins. Every victory helps children boost their self-confidence.
Encourage children regardless of the results. Use positive language. If Sally draws a picture a picture in art class but you don't know what it is, focus on the positive, and say something like, "I love the effort you made. Tell me about your picture."
Identify each child's strengths and encourage him to select activities that will build on them. Show the new blocks to a child that is fascinated with building towers, and watch as he creates a new structure and houses cars and trucks in it. Praise him for his creativity and tell him how impressive his skills are.
Praise children's successes no matter how small or big, whether they learned to tie their shoes by themselves, pour water in the cups at lunch without spilling it, or catch a ball. Praise them liberally and their self-esteem will soar.
Comment on how much the child has progressed over time. If Sue complains that Mary can run faster than her during a game of tag, acknowledge her complaint but immediately bring it back to Sue and her and her skills. Say, "Yes Mary is a fast runner, but look how much faster you can run than you did six months ago. Why you tagged three people today."