Helping Children to Count

Children need to feel like they are important. This is the crucial C of count. What are the ways we can help children to understand the significance they have in our lives and in doing so decrease defiance and increase confidence?  

Why Kids Need to Know They Matter

The crucial C of count.  Children low in count have the hurtful belief that they are insignificant. So much so that they may react by trying to hurt others. Poor self-esteem develops, as they give-up on tasks. At other times they may intimidate others or over-compensate by acting superior. Some kids also feel they count conditionally, such as if they achieve academically or athletically.  

What are some ways to avoid these things from happening? Help children feel counted and draw them out of their withdrawn shells by providing them a reason to believe in themselves. Decrease defiant, demanding behaviors at home and bullying at school by increasing a child’s crucial C of count. Children who believe they make a difference in the world and to the people around them feel they count. They believe they matter.

How to Help Kids Know They Count

Encouraging and acknowledging the child’s contributions fosters feelings of count. Thank them and say how much you appreciate the unique way they set the table every night. Let them know how much their reading has improved and invite them to read to you or a younger sibling. I have included a list of books exploring count below. I have used some of these books with my nieces reading to their infant brother. By participating in these activities, we are aspiring to help kids feel unconditionally valued. 

An easy way to show children they count is to just listen to them. Be 100% present, no phones, emails, or TV, as they tell you about the tag game on the playground, or how much they disliked today’s science experiment. Provide them with eye contact and restate their content back to them, so they know you were paying attention. I have seen how delighted my younger cousin is as I listen to her stories about the customers she has at her job in a grocery store.

Another simple task is to ask your child’s opinions. Should we have hamburgers or spaghetti for dinner? Would dad like a new tie or a book for his birthday? Include them in conversations to solve family problems. Respect their ideas for potential solutions regarding using too much toilet paper or the dog’s need for more walks. Children can be creative and come up with solutions we would never think of. 

More Tips and Tricks to Increase Count

My cousin does this next tip with her teens and it has helped to decrease fighting in the family. They have family nights together, which are wonderful opportunities to improve count in a child. They have a no electronics dinner together, watch a movie, and/or play a board game. Other families I know do projects together, such as a puzzles or art murals, allowing everyone to contribute. You could also have a family affirmation jar where people can list the qualities they appreciate about each member of the family. 

Allow children to contribute to the family by assigning age appropriate chores and responsibilities. Show your gratitude when they complete each task. My nieces love to help my dad in his garden and then cook a meal together with their crop or deliver fresh produce to the neighbors. 

Build a kid’s count by giving them a hug. Tell them you love them. Be excited about your children and light up when you see them. Drop me a comment and let me know how you want to improve count in your child. 

Counting in the Community


Counting can also go beyond the walls of the home into making a difference in the community. Go on litter walks, picking up trash in the neighborhood or local park. Volunteer together at a soup kitchen, clothing drive, or the humane society. I have cherished memories of volunteering as a kid with my grandparents at the local meal site for my church. With each slice of buttered bread I handed out, I knew I was making a difference. 

Feeling as if life has meaning, knowing people care about you, contributing to the world and people around you. We all have a need to count, but it is especially important for children. Children who count will grow up and count in education, medicine, and in the lives of others.

If you feel your child needs more help to feel important and improve self-esteem, CONTACT me to discuss ways I can help. 

Books to explore the Crucial C of count (affiliate links)

Zero by Kathryn Otoshi https://amzn.to/3k8722K

I like Me by Nancy Carlson https://amzn.to/3k3eVGN

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes https://amzn.to/2IeXhlW

The Way Mothers Are by Miriam Schlein https://amzn.to/2IeiUDi

Would they Love a Lion by Kady MacDonald Denton https://amzn.to/3l5xnzU

Unique Monique by Maria Rousaki https://amzn.to/367agic

Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes https://amzn.to/2U68fgh

Only One You by Linda Kranz https://amzn.to/3eAGvKu

On the Day You Were Born by Debra Frasier https://amzn.to/2U1lNK0

Wherever You Are: My Love Will Find You by Nancy Tillman https://amzn.to/38e4f5X

The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig https://amzn.to/36pzxEv

Red: A Crayon Story by Michael Hall https://amzn.to/32lPJVT

Love You Forever by Robert Munsch https://amzn.to/3l3ObqN

Invisible String by Patrice Karst https://amzn.to/3ewY25Y

You Are Special by Max Lucado https://amzn.to/3l6hDMP

I Believe in You by Marianne Richmond https://amzn.to/3l4Tp5O

I have a Little Problem Said the Bear by Heinz Janisch and Silke Leffler https://amzn.to/365Am50

I Love You Rituals by Becky Bailey https://amzn.to/32lqB1t

*Adapted from Crucial C’s by Amy Lew and Betty Lou Bettner and the work of Terry Kottman

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