Children who know they are loved are less likely to have self-esteem problems.

How to Make a 2-Year-Old Girl Feel Good About Herself

by Maggie McCormick

It's no secret that many teenage girls have problems with self-esteem, so when you look at your spunky, beautiful 2-year-old girl, it's only natural to wonder how you can give her a head start on feeling good about herself. advises that attitudes about self start early, so it's smart to work on building her self-esteem when she's still young. This will be a lifelong process, but the reward for your efforts will be a confident young woman who's sure she can do anything.

Look in the mirror. Your child is going to pick up on your feelings about yourself. If you loudly complain about how big your bum looks in your jeans, it won't be long before you'll find your daughter doing the same. Be the person you want her to be.

Praise effort, not achievement. Success isn't the most important thing in life; trying can mean just as much. Your child may be the worst one on the soccer field, but if she's having fun and playing her heart out, she deserves praise for that.

Focus on what she can do, not how she looks. Too often, the compliments we give little girls revolve around appearance. "Isn't your hair pretty?" "Don't you look fancy in that dress?" Children crave attention, and if she finds that she gets the most attention from her looks, it can affect her sense of self-worth. This isn't to say that you can't ever tell her she's beautiful. Just make sure that you're also telling her she's smart and strong.

Spend time with her. Children who feel loved are more likely to feel good about themselves, according to When you set aside special time with your 2-year-old, whether you're having a tea party, reading a book or kicking a ball around in the yard, she'll feel valuable.

Encourage age-appropriate independence. Allowing your child to make choices gives her confidence and lets her know that her opinions are valuable. While you may not be able to let a 2-year-old make important decisions like what to have for dinner (candy!), you can allow her to pick out her own clothes or choose whether she'd like peas or carrots to go with her meal.

Correct her negative self-talk. When you do catch your little one speaking badly about herself, let her know that you see her differently. For example, if she gets frustrated and says, "I'm too stupid to do this puzzle," you might say, "You're not stupid. Getting a puzzle right just takes practice. Let's work on it together."

About the Author

Maggie McCormick is a freelance writer. She lived in Japan for three years teaching preschool to young children and currently lives in Honolulu with her family. She received a B.A. in women's studies from Wellesley College.

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