Listen in on a kindergarten playtime, and you’ll inevitably hear boasts: “I’m the best artist in the world!” “I can dribble better than LeBron James!” You may be amused by these claims, but bragging is a rite of passage for 5- and 6-year-olds.
There are many reasons children toot their own horns. From early on, we celebrate every accomplishment. It’s natural that your kindergartner would expect everyone to share in her excitement when she does her first split or reads a challenging word. What may seem like bragging is often just pride or developmentally appropriate self-focus.
Don’t worry that your positive attention will create a show-off. Just focus on effort and character rather than on performance or ability. This praise will help your child value himself unconditionally and, in turn, not work so hard to impress others. Also acknowledge his failures. Knowing that some things do not come easily will help him remain grounded.
Teaching your child to respect others’ abilities will also minimize boasting. Show him how you congratulate others and offer genuine compliments.
TIP: Avoid comparisons. Comparing siblings with one another or with their peers invites a child to compare herself as well. You want her to feel confident without having to outshine others.