Our Sense of Self is Developed at a Very Early Age

In the very first GGK module…Attachment, Bonding and Caring for Your New Family, we begin to explore attachment and bonding with families and introduce them to the importance of these protective relationships with the Protective Shield Demonstration. This demonstration supports parental understanding of how parenting in a nurturing and sensitive manner will build an emotional shield for their child that will last a lifetime.

Juggling all the demands of adult responsibilities can leave parents feeling like there just isn’t enough time for their children. But simple, small acts that demonstrate kindness and protection to children can make a big difference. (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2015) The Protective Shield demonstration can show parents that by doing the kinds of things they are already doing in a nurturing manner, they are actually growing children who feel loved and valued, without adding a lot of extra time to their already busy schedules. It is the perfect introduction to the parenting work you will be doing with them using the GGK curriculum. Have you done this demonstration with all of your families? Have you tried the Protective Shield for Toddlers? Do you replay this as a booster/reminder for families?

Learning new parenting skill sets (or Daily Do’s) is hard work. As home visitors you have to remain empathic with parents on this matter. Finding ways to inspire them to practice the new skills on a regular basis is critical to their outcomes. With each of the Daily Do’s, your GGK manual provides pay-offs that will help to guide that effort. One of the pay-offs that is listed frequently is that children will have increased self-esteem.

Research shows that when children receive sensitive parenting, they “have the best chance of developing into children, teens, and adults who are happy, healthy, and possess individual-level protective factors such as relational, self-regulation, and problem-solving skills.” (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2015) We also know that, in general, these kinds of characteristics are the result of secure attachment relationships at a very young age. (Bowby, 1969). Our self-views are tied up with these early relationships from infancy which become the basis for self-esteem throughout our lives.

Under the best conditions, high self-esteem develops based on positive interactions with caregivers. Babies can then go on to explore the world while knowing that someone is there for protection if needed. This secure attachment provides children with the ability to regulate their feelings and their self-esteem internally. (Mikulincer & Shaver, 2004)

Some recent findings in a new study by researchers at the University of Washington (Cvencek, Greenwald, & Meltzoff, 2016) indicate that children have a sense of self-esteem much like that of an adult by age 5. The importance of this is that self-esteem remains pretty stable across our lifetime and this study is telling us that this personality trait is “already in place before children begin kindergarten.” (McElroy, 2015)

One of the researchers, Andrew Meltzoff, points out that the research indicates that self-esteem is a “social mindset children bring to school with them, not something they develop in school.” (McElroy, 2015) This leads to the essential question…what parts of the parent-child relationship promote and nurture this strong self-esteem?

Encouraging parents to do the Daily Do’s dozens of times daily seems to be part of this equation. Character Builders leads to trust and children feeling safe and secure. By E-Parenting parents are supporting strong self-regulation and self-esteem. By finding lots of opportunities for Brain Builders, parents are helping children to feel more capable. Through the use of the 4 Steps to Success learning will be fun and children will feel proud of their efforts. By supporting language development with Play by Play or Talk It Up children’s impulse control will be greater and they will have stronger communication skills gaining confidence in their relationships with others. Even the Body Builders Daily Do has a strong impact on self-esteem. Children who are physically healthy feel better about themselves and their abilities.

Knowing that children will take the feelings about themselves that they are developing during these foundational years with them wherever they go in life, it becomes evident that there is much work to be done and not much time to do it. The research tells us that this, like so many of our personality traits, is formed at an earlier age than we previously imagined. Good parenting is the best investment that can be made for the future of our children.

As always, feel free to email any topic suggestions or questions to danabroadway@greatkidsinc.net . Be sure to add Great Vine ideas to the subject line of the email.

Works Cited

Bowby, J. (1969). Attachment and loss. Vol. 1: Attachment. London: Hogarth.

Cvencek, D., Greenwald, A. G., & Meltzoff, A. N. (2016). Implicit measures for preschool children confirm self-esteem’s role in maintaining a balanced identity. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 50-57.

McElroy, M. (2015, November 2). Children’s self-esteem already established by age 5 new study finds. Retrieved from washington.edu: http://www.washington.edu/news/2015/11/02/childrens-self-esteem-already-established-by-age-5-new-study-finds/

Mikulincer, M., & Shaver, P. R. (2004). Security-based self-representations in adulthood: Contents and processes. In W. S. Rholes, & J. A. Simpson, Adult attachment: Theory, research, and clinical implications (pp. 159-195). New York: Guilford Press.

US Department of Health and Human Services. (2015). Making Meaningful Connections. Retrieved from childwelfare.gov: https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/guide.pdf

 

 

Recent Posts

The Here and Now

The Here and Now

Earlier this summer, I found myself sitting on my back porch clutching a book about mindful parenting. You’ve probably heard about...

read more
Love Leads to Learning

Love Leads to Learning

Carving out time to create our monthly blog is always refreshing for me. It’s an opportunity to step back from writing curriculum and...

read more
History is Not Your Destiny

History is Not Your Destiny

Some people are born with a love for reading. You know if you’re one of them! My sister is. Even as a child, she often had her head...

read more
Embrace the Joy!

Embrace the Joy!

As I sit down to write this blog, my week is coming to a close. It’s Friday. I’ve spent my workdays in a virtual conference learning,...

read more
Fresh Air

Fresh Air

For those of us who live in the northern hemisphere, spring is officially here, and that’s a reason to celebrate! I don’t know about...

read more
Hope

Hope

Hope can be defined as wanting something to happen or be true or to expect something with confidence, per Merriam-Webster....

read more
The Next Generation

The Next Generation

Great Kids has been up to some exciting things for the past couple of years, and we are finally ready to share with the rest of the world! We have completed our most comprehensive update of our GGK Prenatal to 36 months (GGK P36) curriculum series – we call it the “GGK P36 NEXT GENERATION” series. It has been a labor of love for us. We intentionally reviewed all components of the curriculum, listened to feedback from the field, and incorporated the best practices in early childhood for our revisions, and the result is spectacular.

read more

Growing Great Kids® Next Generation P-36

Our latest effort to support the work of Home Visiting, our Growing Great Kids® Next Generation (GGK®) Curriculum materials.

GGK® for Preschoolers

A Curriculum & Certification Program for Home Visitors aimed at fostering the growth of nurturing, developmentally enriched parenting skills, building protective factors for children 3 to 5 years old.

Open Enrollment

View upcoming virtual seminar open enrollment dates and subject areas.

How to Get Started

Start by scheduling a free 30-minute webinar to learn more about how your organization might benefit from Great Kids® affordable curriculum with no recurring costs.

Schedule Your Free Webinar Today

Frequently Asked Questions from Our New Customers

Please review common questions for those that are new to Great Kids®. Book your free, personalized webinar to learn more.

For Our Existing Customers

Thank you for being part of the Great Kids® family of agencies and programs. Support & information on Great Kids programs is just a click or phone call away.

Pre and Post Certification Products

All the tools you need to start using Great Kids® Curriculum right away and to continue to enhance the effectiveness of your program.

Ordering Materials

Need replacement manuals? Want to add to your library of Great Kids® resources? Find everything you need here.

  • New Products
  • Recovery-Impact-Support-Empower
  • Replacement Materials
  • Spanish Materials Available

Open Enrollment

View upcoming virtual seminar open enrollment dates and subject areas.

Existing Customer FAQs

Are you a past or current customer of Great Kids®? Find common questions and answers here.

Pricing Information for Existing Customers

Find pricing for companion products and other programs.

About Great Kids®

In partnership with home visitors, Great Kids has helped hundreds of thousands of children feel safe and secure, loved and valued, curious and capable.

Contact Great Kids

Contact Great Kids today by phone, by email, through social media, or by our mailing address.

 

Research

Great Kids® has incorporated decades of theoretical and empirical foundations regarding the kinds of interventions that have been shown to make a difference for children into the Growing Great Kids® Prenatal to 5 Years and Growing Great Families® curricula.

Alignment With Program Models

Our curricula are flexible enough to be used within a multitude of program models.

Protective Factors

The research-based principles of the Protective Factors Framework were foundational in the development of the Growing Great Kids® Curriculum.

Great Kids® Blog

Find informative articles about growing creativity in young children, welcoming a new sibling, playing outside, as well as general Great Kids® updates.

GK Video Podcast

A video podcast series dedicated to overcoming bias in others, and within our selves.

Parent’s Place Newsletter

Limited edition, weekly installment Newsletter published by Great Kids® from March through December 2020 with printable resources for home visitors and the families they serve.

Open Enrollment

Great Kids is proud to offer a variety of virtual seminar opportunities! Visit our Open Enrollment page for the latest dates and seminar offerings. 

 

We continuously add seminar dates to our list so please check back often. For more information about how to enroll, contact us at info@greatkidsinc.net.

 

You can also enter your email address in the form below to subscribe to receive regular updates from GK, including information on open enrollment. 

 

We look forward to partnering with you!

We look forward to connecting with you!