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How to Nurture Self-Compassion

To Help Build a Strong Foundation for Emotional Development

There is much to discover and discuss on our journey together as we unpack how we can build firm foundations in every domain of a child’s development during their pre-school years.

4 mins to read Feb 9, 2022

This month’s topic tugs at the heart strings as it revolves around building strong foundations for emotional development in our children at the most unexpected time: right after they have made a blunder, and they are feeling exceptionally bad about it.


The Right Time

Researchers say one of the best times to help build emotional resilience in a child is when they are experiencing feelings of shame.


This is because learning to rise above shame is crucial for cultivating and discovering a valuable skill called “self-compassion”.


According to Brenè Brown, a research professor from the University of Houston, feeling guilty can be useful as it can motivate a person to learn how to behave better in the future. However, experiencing feelings of shame has no purpose – it is simply destructive. In her words, “The easiest way to separate shame from guilt is to say shame is ‘I’m bad’ and guilt is ‘I did something bad’.” Shame is a focus on self; guilt is a focus on behaviour”.


Help Them Turn the Situation Around

Instead of allowing shame to break our child’s spirit, we can step in to help them turn the situation around.


The key is to actively train them to rise above wallowing in self-pity. The best strategy is to get them to focus their attention on the future: how they can fix what can be fixed, learn what they can and then move on.


Five-Step Plan


Here’s a five-step plan that can be implemented when we sense that our children are experiencing feelings of shame after misbehaving or making a bad choice.


  1. Mention the seriousness and consequences of what they have done. For example, “Punching is not a good way to show that you’re angry. It made me feel really bad when you did that.” (Note that you are talking about the behaviour as a choice and not labelling your child as a bad person.)
  2. Acknowledge what they are feeling in the moment. “It looks as if you’re feeling sorry/angry about what happened. Am I right?”
  3. Put their offense into a much larger perspective. “Everyone makes bad choices from time to time. This doesn’t make you a bad person.”
  4. Discuss what they can do to make things better. “When you’re ready, you can say you’re sorry. That way, both of us will feel a lot better.”
  5. Lastly, help your child to look ahead. Briefly arm them with a plan for how to avoid making the same bad choice again. For example, “Next time you’re angry, you can just remember to use your words.”


The Benefits of Self-Compassion



Self-compassion helps to create an emotional buffer against depression in teenagers.


It’s important to emphasise the value of self-compassion for neutralising shame. This was shown by a recent research study which concluded that teenagers were less likely to suffer from severe depression, when they had fewer recollections of times when they experienced intense emotions of shame during their childhood.


Adolescents who were able to give themselves a break – by being more understanding to themselves – were found to be more capable of self-soothing and able to regulate their emotions. Self-compassion is therefore an important antidote to shame feelings. The positive impacts are well-being, mental and physical health and interpersonal relationships.


We have an extra bonus for you!


We appreciate that you are keen on going the extra mile to provide your child with only the best foundations for life and we are here to support you every step of the way. Therefore, we have created a downloadable PDF file that can be printed and used as a poster or saved as an image on your cell phone for future reference.

The topic of this poster is: Ten Tips for Building Your Child’s Spirit.

Follow Download Here to claim yours.


Before you go, have a look at the following two more ways in which you can benefit:


First, we invite you to join hands with us to make the most of your child’s developmental milestones

If your child is 3 to 5 years old, we invite you to sign up – at no charge – to receive developmental milestone reminders and information on a monthly basis, in the format that works best for you.


Sign up here to start benefiting from the NESTLE® NANKID® 4 milestone reminder tool. You will receive monthly developmental milestone reminders for your little one up until their sixth birthday.


NESTLÉ® NANKID® 4 is a premium drink for growing children. It provides a unique combination of high-quality ingredients.


There are 4 major reasons to choose NESTLÉ® NANKID® 4 for 3 to 5-year-olds.

  1. It contains HMO.
  2. It contains OPTIPRO® (source of protein), the right quality and quantity of proteins.
  3. It is a source of Omega-3 (with DHA*), and Omega-6.
  4. It contains BIFIDUS (a naturally active culture).


*DHA: Docosahexaenoic Acid


IMPORTANT NOTICE: NESTLÉ® NANKID® 4 is not a breastmilk substitute and is formulated to meet the changing nutrition needs of healthy children older than 3 years.