When a child compares himself to others
Do you have a child who is always comparing himself to others in your group? Certain children tend to constantly compare the way they play, their results, their board game wins, and even the size of their father's muscles... Each comment hides an indirect message.
Comparisons can hide certain desires or emotions: to be like others, to stand out, a fear of having less, and even jealousy. Often, comparisons can be associated with low self-esteem. You most likely have noticed children who are constantly observing others and comparing their performances.
In childhood development, a certain level of comparison is normal. At a very young age, when children are still in the parallel play stage and self-centered, they show little interest in comparing themselves to others. Around their third birthday, children may begin to make general comparisons, mainly on a physical level. It's only after pre-k, around 5 years old, that children begin to make more serious comparisons. Certain interventions can help increase children's sense of competence and therefore reduce their need to compare themselves to others.
- Avoid comparing children among themselves. Highlight their individual successes.
- Build children's self-esteem gradually, daily even. Help children discover their abilities, recognize their successes, and celebrate their victories.
- Offer plenty of positive reinforcement. Notice, encourage, and congratulate children's efforts.
- Celebrate children's differences. Highlight each child's strengths.
- Speak positively to the children in your group and invite them to do the same. Keep in mind that words impact our thoughts and feelings.
- Aim to put a STOP to comparisons and take advantage of discussion periods to point out children's accomplishments.
In conclusion, don't forget that children learn through imitation. Make sure you are a positive role model and avoid comparing yourself to others. Be proud of your personal accomplishments and who you are. Children will learn from your behavior.