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With healthy self-esteem, your child will flourish. In an era where kindergarten is the new first grade, children are being pushed to develop academic skills from an early age. Yet all the intellectual skills in the world are of little value without the confidence to put them to use. This is why, as a parent, we should prioritize building healthy self-esteem and confidence first and foremost.


To do so, we can choose words that inspire confidence. Here are 25 phases that you can use to increase confidence and self-esteem in your children:

1. “You are capable."

As a parent, our words become the internal language in the minds of our children. We know that our kids are capable of so much—let your words match this belief. Avoid saying things like, "You are going to hurt yourself" or "Don't fall." Our tone and language should communicate confidence.

2. “That was brave."

Sometimes we need to notice things aloud. That means to let them know when we see them being brave. When we notice our kids being brave, they start to notice too.

3. “You've got this."

You know that they have the skills and means necessary and your vote of confidence will give them that extra boost they need to succeed.

4. “I believe in you."

As the parent, you have faith in your child's ability. When you openly communicate that faith in them it will inspire it within themselves.

5. “You can do hard things."

When the going gets tough the obstacles can seem insurmountable. So this direct phrase will tell them exactly what they need to hear—acknowledgment that this is hard work and that they are capable.

6. “No matter what happens, I love you."

Our children need to hear words that communicate unconditional love. That means providing reassurance of our love—regardless of the outcome.

7. “Let's try it together."

Sometimes we all need a helping hand and be sure they know that you will be that hand when they need it.

8. “How'd you do that?"

Ask questions. When you see them do something hard, say, "How did you manage that? How can you do it again?"

9. “That sounds awesome, can you tell me more?"

Take it one step further than just noticing their effort—ask them to elaborate. Then hear the the pride in their voice when they explain.

10. “How can I help?"

When they get really stuck, don't be afraid to offer your support. Let them know that the offer to help is on the table.

11. “Give it your best."

We will never win it all, do it all, or be it all. But we can give it our best. Let's teach our kids this lesson.

12. “I know it's hard, but I have seen you do it before."

It can seem overwhelming, but let's give them evidence of when they have been successful before. This will instill the confidence that they can do it again.

13. “You are enough."

It doesn't matter what the outcome—they need to know they are enough just the way they are.

14. “You make me proud."

Straight and to the point—you can never tell your child this enough.

15. “Even when we get frustrated, we still love each other."

Feelings like frustration, anger and hopelessness are all common human emotions. And despite these big feelings we will stand by the side of our children with unconditional love.

16. “I wonder what would happen if…"

Try to evoke curiosity and a new way of thinking by wondering about the possibilities.

17. “Do you know what grit means?"

Kids love learning new words. Teach them about grit, resilience and perseverance to help them reach towards these goals.

18. “Want to hear a story?"

Share stories with your kids. Tell them about times when you overcame obstacles, met your goals, and reached for the stars.

19. “Do you want to try something crazy?"

Challenge your children with things they think are beyond reach (even if it sounds a little crazy). They might surprise you and themselves.

20. “Sometimes new things can seem scary, but they can be exciting."

Young children tend to cling toward people and environments that are familiar. But if we emphasize how exciting and joyful that new experiences can be, we can encourage the confidence to venture out of the comfort zone.

21. “I know you tried your hardest and I am proud of that effort."

When we see them working hard and giving it their all, we can recognize this effort. After all, life is about the journey, not the destination.

22. “It looks like you are curious about this, let's take a deeper look."

Encourage curiosity and exploration in children of all ages. As a result, they will be more likely to seek out new information and experiences with confidence.

23. “Sometimes we make mistakes, and that is how we learn."

Start the conversation about growing, changing and taking risks. With each challenge and accomplishment, the sense of self-esteem will grow.

24. “How did you challenge yourself today?"

Start the conversation about growing, changing and taking risks. With each challenge and accomplishment, the sense of self-esteem will grow.

25. “Repeat after me, 'I can do it.'"

Positive affirmations are powerful—they can rewire the brain. When we teach our children to use positive affirmations from an early age they will reap the benefits as they grow.

Let the games begin! Thanks to improved hand-eye coordination and growing curiosity, your baby is probably starting to show an affinity for certain toys and activities. Embrace that love of play, mama—if you use the right items (more on that below!) playtime isn't just fun, it's also great for development.

Speaking of development, you probably know by now that every baby is unique and progresses at a different rate—so don't stress about when those milestones are hit.

What matters is that you feel confident in empowering yourself with knowledge and advocating for your child. And don't forget to have fun! Exploring new concepts alongside that sweet baby is downright magical.

There are so many changes on the horizon, but you've got this, mama. Here are a few of our favorite items to help you tackle this exciting stage:

For jumpstarting that vocabulary: Readerlink First 100 Words

first 100 words

Although babies build their spoken vocabularies gradually, research shows infants aged 6 to 9 months already understand a good number of words. This book is a great tool for encouraging language development, as it allows them to learn the names of things they regularly use.

$4.99

For soothing tender gums: Itzy Ritzy teething mitt

Ritzy teething mit

Fact: A mama can never have too many tools to help her babe ward off teething pains. This mitt helps relieve soreness… and it doubles as a fun little toy, too.

$7.19

For a fun way to learn: Infantino balls, blocks and buddies

Infantino balls and blocks

As basic as it may seem to us, the act of stacking and sorting toys helps babies build the fine-motor and problem-solving skills they'll use throughout their lives. The benefits are immediate as well: These activities build concentration skills that'll serve them well today.

$16.99

For the bottle-to-cup transition: MAM trainer cup

MAM trainer cup

Drinking from a cup may seem like second nature to you, but there's definitely a learning curve involved for an infant. Help smooth out that transition from bottle/breast to cup by offering small amounts of water in this trainer cup. It mimics the feel of a bottle while introducing babies to the concept of sipping.

$4.99

For brushing those bitty teeth: FridaBaby smilefrida toothbrush

Fridababy

Did you know dentists recommend brushing your child's teeth from the time that very first one emerges? This brush was designed especially for those teeny mouths and boasts a brilliant BPA-free design. You simply slip the brush onto your finger and go to work on those pearly whites.

$7.99

For making chores more fun: More Than Magic bluetooth speaker

More than magic speaker

By necessity, mamas are masters at multitasking. But who says there can't be something in it for you? We recommend streaming your favorite podcast or book on tape while taking care of chores around the house

$19.99

For your new nightly routine: Target book club subscription

Target book club

If you've officially stashed the bassinet and moved your little one into the nursery, your nights might be feeling very different these days. Embrace it by implementing a nightly reading routine (because you can finally turn on your bedside lamp without fear of waking that sweet baby!). This subscription program makes it easy and affordable to tackle new books.

$13.90

For those frame-worthy photos: Fujifilm instax mini 9

Fuji Instax

Only a tiny fraction of the pictures on our phones ever get printed because, well, mom life is busy. This camera, which makes printing mini Polaroid pictures a total cinch, may change that.

$69.99

For easy cleanup: Dyson cord-free vacuum

Dyson

Now that you have a baby playing on your floors, you're probably ultra aware of every little crumb. Welcome to motherhood—when it's totally acceptable to get really excited about a great vacuum.

$299.99

For easy cooking: Rubbermaid food storage container set

Rubbermaid storage

Simplify meals by prepping all your ingredients before you start cooking (if you want to get fancy, you can call this process "mise en place" a la a professional chef). When everything is chopped and stored in these handy containers, getting dinner on the table becomes easier than ever.

$9.99

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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How often do we see a "misbehaving" child and think to ourselves, that kid needs more discipline? How often do we look at our own misbehaving child and think the same thing?

Our society is conditioned to believe that we have to be strict and stern with our kids, or threaten, shame or punish them into behaving. This authoritarian style of parenting is characterized by high expectations and low responsiveness—a tough love approach.

But while this type of authoritarian parenting may elicit "obedient" kids in the short-term, studies suggest that children who are shamed or punished in the name of discipline face challenges in the long-term. Research suggests that children who are harshly disciplined or shamed tend to be less happy, less independent, less confident, less resilient, more aggressive and hostile, more fearful and at higher risk for substance abuse and mental health issues as adults and adolescents.

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The reason? No one ever changes from being shamed.

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