Tips for Educators

5 Tips To Tutor A Child With Low Self-Esteem

  • May 16, 2022
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 5 Tips To Tutor A Child With Low Self-Esteem

As younger generations wind their way through different life stages, we see a reported decline in their self-esteem. Children belonging to the tech-savvy Generation Z seem to have harsher perceptions of themselves and report higher rates of social comparison. Although these are causes for concern, this article details how tutors can identify students with low self-esteem and five tips on how to teach them. 

Every child will have a unique way of displaying low self-esteem. But there are general indicators that can help a tutor spot it. Here are some of the most common: 

  • Harsh On Oneself - Ever heard a child say, “I’m so stupid?” Children are extremely impressionable, absorb their surroundings like a sponge and react impulsively to them. If you are dealing with a child with low self-esteem, they would be less likely to take criticism well. Their first reaction would be to blame themselves. Poor test results would be met with a decrease in motivation to learn, and every instance of failure would be seen as an affirmation of their lack of worth.
  • Takes The Beaten Path - If your student is uncomfortable with trying new things, it may be indicative of low self-esteem. Students experiencing this tend to look at what everyone else is doing and mimic it when writing an assignment as they don’t trust their own work.
  • Change In Behavior - This can be an easier sign to spot because you have a reference of past behavior. If an active student suddenly stops taking part in class, you should keep an eye out for something that may have impacted their self-esteem. Although you have to take this case-by-case, drastic and negative behavior changes like avoiding eye contact, unusual quietness or aggression are all red flags. 

Once you’re sure low self-esteem is affecting your student, you need to tread more carefully while teaching them. Here are five tips that can guide you -

1. Shower Genuine Praise

Children can be great detectors of disingenuous compliments. Avoid this by choosing moments that warrant praise; be generous with positive feedback and make them feel confident in their work. If they have understood a particularly difficult topic or solved a problem, heap on the compliments. Keep encouraging them when they hit a wall with a concept and remind them of moments where they performed well. You can also appreciate them for who they are

2. Be Mindful Of Your Behavior

As tutors, it is important to create a healthy learning space where children can learn and grow. Be mindful of the type of energy you bring into your tuition classes. Regardless of a good or bad day, be consistent in your behavior. Avoid sarcasm, defeating remarks, hot and cold attitudes or unwarranted scolding. 

3. Foster Independent Thinking 

Children with low self-esteem can indulge in attention-seeking and people-pleasing behavior. As they do not validate themselves, they seek validation from outside sources. Help them build confidence in themselves by encouraging independent thinking. Give opportunities during sessions to speak openly. While teaching concepts, encourage them to propose solutions before answering.

4. Redefine Failure 

A child’s relationship with failure can impact their decision-making skills. Lower self-esteem in children can lead to them associating failure with feeling they are lesser than others. As a tutor, you can redefine this association. Remind them it is acceptable when they fail to answer a question or recall a topic, instead of shaming them.

5. Be A Role Model

You can help your students by being role models as young children can be excellent copycats of the adults around them. Use this as a tool to teach children how to be accepting of one's quirks. Include them in activities and show them how to handle responsibility and deal with failure gracefully.

Children with low self-esteem require a much more sensitive teaching approach. You need to be highly empathetic towards their feelings and speak to them accordingly. Always remember to appreciate their achievements and give constructive criticism when they fail.

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