How to Build Your Child's Self-Esteem and Book Review of "Ahni and Her Dancing Secret"
The book, "Ahni and Her Dancing Secret" by Shereen Ramming, was provided free of charge but the thoughts and views of this children's book are completely our own. Enjoy!
It is absolutely important to me to raise my daughter to be a strong African-American woman who has all the self-confidence in the world. Our society has not shown black women in a good light for a long time now and it is time for that to change.
I want Jayla to know and understand that she can do anything she puts her mind too. That her skin color and her gender have nothing to do with the things she can accomplish. All Jayla needs to do is be self-confident, affirm herself, believe in herself, and get ish done!
We've been looking for ways to help instill self-esteem in our girls and as we all know, reading is great for a child's brain development and stimulation. We got our hands on an awesome book called "Ahni and Her Dancing Secret" by Shereen Rahming. This book is about a young girl, Ahni, who dreams of being a great dancer, but once she enters dancing school with the great Madame Sabina, she realizes she's not as good as the other girls. They soon take notice and start to make fun of her. And just when Ahni started to quit, Madame Sabina taught her some great techniques to help her believe in herself.
Now you have to get the rest of the book to know the end, but let me just tell you, Jayla loves this book!
Let's just start with the illustrations alone. They are big and bold, and the wonderful use of colors are enough to grab anyone's attention. The story itself is great too! It teaches your child not only why believing in yourself is essential, but how to do it. It also doesn't pretend that a person needs to only believe. No way! It takes hard-work otherwise you'll get no where. Can I just say, teaching kids to also be realistic is so important!! I am grateful to this author for being so honest and taking a realistic approach.
Jayla gets excited when we read this book at bed time and she loves the word "affirmations" so much that she says it over and over. She can see herself in the character and it helps lead her on her own adventures like being President or even an athlete.
While I try to read to Ava often, let's be real, she ain't understanding much but that's okay! It's good for her! While she may not be able to comprehend the message, just yet, I still like the book for it's message of envisioning, believing and acting to achieve whatever you want in life.
Beyond that, I love that the main character is a little girl of color with curly textured hair like Ava. I'm really big on visual representation and getting figures in front of Ava that she can relate to, and this book does that. When she gets old enough and we read it together, I want Ava to be able to easily put herself in Ahni's shoes. I want her to relate enough that she think's she can do what Ahni does and follows the same steps she took to perfect her dancing.
Now, just because my baby has no idea what's going on, doesn't mean she didn't enjoy the book. As soon as I opened the book with he bright colored pages, her face lit up. It was then a battle to hold her back from possibly damaging the book and read at the same time.
Now the book is a perfect example to help parents instill self-esteem in their child. We are proof it works. But what kind of Besties would we be if we didn't give you additional ways to help out?!
1. Encourage your child to try
Children will get the hang of things. I've found that what looks like something they can't do on their own, they probably can. Even when your child gets frustrated, encourage them to try a few times before giving up. Once they accomplish their task, praise them for trying and succeeding. If they do not accomplish their task, praise them for trying and say things like "you'll be able to do it without mommy's help soon" or "great try! I'm proud of you for not giving up". I've done these types of things with Jayla and she just lights up.
2. Build them up with positivity
I started telling Jayla her hair is beautiful, how much I love her skin, and that she is beautiful. To this day if you ask Jayla about her hair and skin she is quick to say "my hair is pretty it's beautiful. My skin is so pretty" she'll even tell you how much she loves your skin and hair. I make sure she knows that what society will try to tear her down about, is some of the most unique things about her.
3. Confirm they're doing a good job
Or tell them that they've improved...we don't need to lie to the kids. If your child is putting in the work, let them know that their efforts are paying off and aren't for nothing. Encourage them to keep working hard because it will only make them better in the long run.
4. Give them freedom to explore
I let Ava climb on things and I sometimes let her put a few questionable things in her mouth. All within reason, of course, but I want to encourage her curiosity and I don't want to limit her with too many restrictions. If it's a matter of life and death, then yes I will intervene. Other than that, I want Ava to know that it's okay to try new things and go to new places. Doing this will give her confidence in her own thoughts and decisions and she'll learn to trust herself.
While Julia and I are building our girls self esteem, it's something that should be worked on in both girls and boys. Everyone deserves to have a strong self esteem; it'll only get them farther in life.
If you want this book for you and your little one, you can purchase it here on Amazon.
We're still looking for as many ways as possible to build our children's self esteem. Do you have any methods that we didn't mention? Let us know in the comments below.