Image Matters: Even When You’re Three Years Old

This post originally appeared at my parenting blog The Gift of Good Manners. I will be cross posting some of my favorite content from that blog here at the Etiquette Daily. I hope you enjoy these posts as much as I enjoyed writing them.

Years ago, when my son was three years old, he walked into the kitchen for breakfast, puffed out his little chest, and with a bright smile asked, “Mommy, do you think Georgia will like this shirt?”

Georgia was his beloved day-care-center teacher. He had a crush on her from the age of two. He knew that image counts, and he wanted to be sure he had the best image possible. I did think Georgia would like his shirt and told him so. He went off to school with confidence that he had made the right choice. To this day he dresses well and takes care to project the right image for the event at hand.

You can help your kids gain that self-confidence by validating their choices. It’s important, of course, to give them choices in the first place. In the case of my son, I would spread three different shirts on his bed for him to vet. I knew that whatever he chose, I would be happy to tell him he made a great choice.

When you try this with your children, make sure to let them know what a wise choice they have made. They’ll feel the pride of making their own decision and know that they’re looking great on their way to school – whether they have a crush on their teacher or not.

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