Marcia started out by defining the words. Self-worth means how we believe we deserve to be treated, while self-esteem means our confidence in ourselves.
The best way to build self-worth in a child is to spend quality time with them. Each child needs a minimum of 15 minutes a day; however, some children need more time than this and each child is unique in the way they want to 'connect.' This 15 minutes needs to be uninterrupted - no t.v, phones or computers or even conversations with other children or your spouse. Every child needs this time with both parents.
We've all heard the words "quality time" but what children really need is high quality time. Marcia said, "Quality time is taking your child to the park and watching him play while talking to him. High-quality time is getting on the play equipment with him and playing, too."
Self-esteem is built by letting children do things for themselves. This is very important because many people think that self-esteem can be built by praise, but this is untrue. Marcia said, "Children have a natural drive to learn to do things on their own but that this drive is often crushed in their early years because parents and caregivers are afraid they will not do it 'right,' will hurt themselves or that they will make a mess."
As caregivers, it is essential that we allow children to try without judgement or criticism so that they learn to be proud of themselves for their own accomplishments instead of waiting for the approval of others.
Marcia has several workshops coming up and I strongly encourage participation. Marcia's parenting blog is also a valuable resource to parents, as well as caregivers.
Ironically, my favorite blogger, Teacher Tom, wrote a post on this same topic just before the workshop. His words sum it up nicely:
"...self-esteem is not built though hollow praise, but rather from mastering skills, which can only be done through experience and hard work. We help our children build confidence by giving them the opportunities to try, try, try again. Encouragement, not praise is our greatest tool."