by Nabanita Dutt
Foster Self-Love In Children With The Heart-Love Pillow
Heaping praise on your children is not an effective way to teach them self-love. While parental encouragement is important for their emotional confidence, self-love is an awareness that has to come from inside themselves.
What the world – and you, as a loving, supporting parent – has to say is just messaging that is coming from the outside. And the outside world is a mixed-bag sort of place. For example, on one hand there can be schoolmates and playground buddies who are breaking children’s self-confidence with meanness, peer abuse and name-calling. And then there is you, trying to come in from the other end with genuine praise, encouragement and support.
Exposed to these contrasting messages about who they are, children are confused. And often times, they accept the most negative feedback to form a subconscious awareness of their self-worth.
The only way to ensure that children are growing up with a balanced, secure view of their place in the world is by teaching them self-love.
Once they learn to love themselves without judgement and guilt borrowed from the opinion of others, they can face life’s challenges from a place of great internal strength that cannot be shaken or broken by external circumstances.
How To Use The Heart-Love Pillow In Self-Love Practices
Step # 1:
• Encourage children to start each day with a little self-praise. Let them look inside themselves and come up with a character attribute that is positive.
Typically, this practice works best when children think about something good or nice that they did the day before. It could be something as simple as sharing a toy with a sibling or helping Mummy clean up after dinner. Every thoughtful act can be attributed to a positive character trait, such as kindness, gratefulness, helpfulness etc.
Step # 2:
• Lead children to connect that simple, positive action from the day before to a trait in their own character. Matching actions to a personality trait is a very effective way to make them accept readily that they indeed have such a trait in them, and they feel inclined to do more acts that bolster and validate this new belief.
Step # 3:
• Once the action has been associated with a positive character trait, get the children to write it down with a short `I AM’ sentence on a note card. For example, “I am kind” or “I am compassionate”.
Step # 4:
• Let them pin that card to their Heart Love Pillow. The pillow will hold the `I AM’ affirmation sentence in their “hearts” until the children come back from school with another full day’s worth of social interactions and experiences.
Step # 5:
• So how did the day go? Did they do something that confirms the `I AM’ affirmation statement from yesterday? If they did, then the affirmation stays on the pillow. If they did something else that validates some other positive trait in themselves, then let them write that out in an `I AM’ format and replace the old one.
Step # 6:
• Have the children collect all the little hand-written cards and use them as applicable every day. As time goes on and they sift through a bunch of `I AM’ cards to put on their Heart Love Pillow, the belief in these positive statements will form the foundation on which true self-love will grow.