What is self-esteem?
Self-esteem is a measure of how we see ourselves and our sense of self-worth. Not only does self-esteem help our children face challenges and try new things – it’s crucial to their academic achievement, participation, engagement in activities, social relationships, and, ultimately, their psychological and physical well-being.
Children low in self-esteem tend to doubt their abilities, have self-imposed limitations and a fixed mindset which can significantly impact on their learning and wellbeing. In more severe cases, self-criticism and negativity can lead to persistent feelings of sadness, depression, anxiety, anger, shame or guilt. Those high in self-esteem are enthusiastic, active, feel a greater sense of worth, and, perhaps most importantly, feel comfortable with who they are.
Focusing on and choosing positivity
When your mind is full of negative thoughts, it’s hard to break away from them. Adjusting our thinking can be a valuable and powerful skill in these moments. This requires training. Encouraging and supporting our children to develop this mindset as they grow and develop could prove invaluable.
Analysing our thoughts and reflecting on our experiences is the first step to train our minds to think positively. Children are often consumed by a single negative experience and fail to focus on any of the enormous number of positive experiences or achievements. It is of course, important not to ignore these. We must acknowledge the negatives and feelings associated with them. It is important these are given room to be felt and not suppressed so that we can process negative emotions in a healthy way. It is then important to spend time identifying positives, allowing us to focus on the good things!
How we plan to help at Deer Park
We have implemented a daily, whole school intervention in which the children are given 10 minutes at the end of school to reflect on their day. This could be done whilst listening to some deep focus music as the children prepare for home time, drawing pictures, writing, or even simply thinking quietly in their heads – making it inclusive and accessible for everyone.
First, they can write/draw any negative experience down on paper that they wish to get rid of/throw away. Writing down or physically getting rid of negative thoughts can be extremely powerful. Next, they list/draw all the little things that have gone well and spend time focusing on the positives.
Children can reflect by seeing visually right in front of them that more often than not, the positives significantly outweigh the negatives. These can then be ‘wiped clean’ both mentally and physically, ready to begin a fresh start the following day.
We hope that these positive thoughts and experiences will then be at the forefront of the children’s minds to share with their families upon collection, so that this positive energy can be reinforced even further.
Teaching the children this valuable skill and embedding it into their everyday practice will hopefully develop a healthy and positive mindset for all of our children to take with them on their journeys at Deer Park and beyond.