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Your 5-year-old now
Every parent wants a child who's confident and who feels great about herself. Time to check in with yourself to see that you're on track to supporting a healthy self-esteem. Ask yourself:
- Do I give unconditional love? In discipline, be sure to criticize and correct the behavior, not the child.
- Do I really pay attention? Look at your child when she talks and stop doing other tasks. If you can't really devote your full attention, explain why and promise to follow up at a specific time later in the day — then do.
- Do I give specific praise? Let your child know when she's doing a great job — in detailed terms, not just a blanket "You're so great" or "You're so pretty."
- Do I provide empathy? If your child is down on herself after comparing herself to others, let her know you understand her sad feelings but add a positive note: "You wish you could read like Anna. She is good at it. But you are learning, and also your teacher is always telling me that you make such beautiful drawings!"
- Do I encourage my child to take risks? Trying hard new things, and then succeeding, builds confidence. Try not to rescue her from every glitch or tough situation.
Your life now
Looking for a new way to pass time with your child? Encourage storytelling. Your child has probably always loved hearing stories. As her language skills blossom, she's becoming more proficient at telling them, too — either making up her own or telling about something important that happened.
Being able to tell a good story is important for language, writing, and comprehension. Your child understands that stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end, and will usually construct hers this way.
Build on her storytelling interest by telling little stories of your own — whether they're tales you make up or just by talking about your own day. Use storytelling to reinforce behaviors you're working on with your child, for example, by telling a story about the little frog who wouldn't go to bed.
Children also love to concoct stories with you. Take turns contributing a sentence or two until you have a complete tale.
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