Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he grows older he will not abandon it. – Proverbs 22:6
Low self-esteem is a common struggle among children, which can negatively impact their mental well-being in the future. To prevent this, it’s crucial to nurture their self-worth early on through engaging self-esteem activities. By doing so, they can develop a positive self-image, cultivate self-assurance, and learn to appreciate themselves. Discover the top 12 self-esteem activities you can start with your child today, which can also benefit adults.
A child’s self-esteem is their perception of themselves and their worth. Simply put, it means having a positive view of oneself and recognizing their value. When a child lacks self-esteem, they may feel inadequate, avoid challenges, and experience negative emotions like loneliness and fear. Moreover, their vulnerability may make them an easy target for abuse or bullying. As parents, it’s crucial to boost their self-esteem to help them grow into happy, successful, and compassionate adults.
However, it’s important to strike a balance between building their confidence and teaching them to be humble and assertive. Overconfidence can lead to arrogance while being too accommodating can make them vulnerable to manipulation. By nurturing their self-esteem and teaching them essential life skills, we can help our children develop healthy relationships, self-awareness, and emotional resilience.
You made my whole being. You formed me in my mother’s body. I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way. What you have done is wonderful. I know this very well. – Psalm 139:13-14 NASB
As parents, we have various ways to foster our children’s self-esteem and confidence. First and foremost, it’s essential to express unconditional love and support towards them, regardless of their accomplishments or failures. Acknowledge their efforts and hard work, whether they succeed or not, to make them feel valued and appreciated. Let them know that they are loved, even when they make mistakes.
Setting an example is another powerful way to boost your child’s self-esteem. Children look up to their parents and observe their behaviors, even the subtle ones. Therefore, it’s crucial to accept compliments graciously and avoid comparing yourself or your child with others. This way, you demonstrate self-confidence and help your child develop a healthy self-image.
Although seemingly simple, these practices can significantly impact your child’s self-esteem and well-being in the long run. Moreover, they can also enhance your own self-esteem and create a positive parent-child relationship.
Here are some easy self-esteem activities for kids to start with your children today. It is never too early to start!
1. Positive Affirmations can help build self-confidence
Positive affirmations are probably one of the easiest activities you can do with your children but will also have the biggest impact. Saying positive mantras throughout the day about yourself helps you to get rid of negative thought patterns and build strong self-worth.
Make your own with your children! This can easily be turned into a fun art activity. Hang them up around their bedroom when you are finished and repeat them first thing in the morning and before they go to bed.
Teaching your child how to be mindful will help them during stressful times in their lives. Then, instead of simply giving up or thinking because something is hard, they cannot do it; they will be able to work through their stress and continue to be successful. This will help them collect their thoughts and make better judgments.
Enjoy some yoga or a 5-minute guided meditation every morning to help set their mood for the day.
3. Journaling helps
Journaling is so beneficial and can be used all throughout your life. Have your child pick out their favorite journal from the store and make it a habit to write down their thoughts before going to bed.
You can create a gratitude journal or a simple journal about their feelings. This will help them unload all their thoughts and struggles in a safe place.
You can also try creating a self-esteem journal where they write positive things about themselves or accomplishments they did during the day. Then, when they are struggling, they can turn back to this journal and see their self-worth.
This can be a fun family activity to do every now and again. Write each child’s name on a blank paper. Then, circle the paper around the room, and each person writes one or two things they love about the person on the paper. Go around until everyone in the room has gone through the room. Imagine them reading a list with four reasons (we have 5 living in our home) why they are loved. Make sure everyone knows not to just write that they love them because they are mother, daughter, sister, brother, etc.
Sometimes children need to see their worth through other people’s eyes. When they see how much everyone around them loves them, their self-esteem will grow too. This will be something to keep taped to their door each week so they can be reminded they are loved and are important because of those things. This way whenever they are feeling down they can be encouraged.
Being creative helps boost our self-esteem as we see the end result. Knowing that we successfully created something out of nothing always makes someone proud. So go out and create something with your child!
If art and crafts is a struggling habit for your child, get an easy-to-make craft kit and start from there. That way, they won’t be disappointed and will still enjoy the process. No matter how simple or little the project is, it will help their self-esteem.
6. A Date With You
Make it a habit to go on a date with your children regularly. Keep in mind your child wants to know just how important they are to you. If you are finding the time to spend with them, they will know this. Do you remember how special you felt when your parent listened to you? Spent time with you? Go someplace they will like and just enjoy that time spent together. Seeing how much you mean and matter to someone always helps us love ourselves more.
When you are kind to others, you always feel better about yourself in return, the same thing for kids. Try to do random acts of kindness for others. You can make it a monthly challenge where you see how many acts you can do in a month.
When you are constantly kind, people will notice and hopefully, it becomes contagious and spreads. You may even notice people being more kind to you. Kindness is always an easy way to build self-worth and self-love.
Going along with positive affirmations, try to instill a habit of talking kindly about yourself. There are so many great ways to do this. Mirror talk is where you repeat affirmations in front of a mirror. This way, you clearly tell yourself how much you love and value yourself.
You can also begin a “5 things I love about myself” habit. Before going to bed, you and your child each say 5 things you love about yourselves. This will help you lead by example.
Here’s a Self-Esteem Workbook for you to download.
Failure is a part of life, and we need to teach that to our children. Every night when you are eating dinner, go around the table and each name a failure from that day. This will help make failure a normal part of living. Then when failures come, it is not so damaging to your child but rather helps them move forward. Don’t forget to go around the table one more time and give a positive that happened to each person that day, this way they walk away feeling good about themselves.
A big part of self-esteem for anyone is their perception of their bodies. While it may not seem like it, exercise does much more for a child’s perception of themselves rather than just their weight.
When you exercise, your body releases hormones and neurotransmitters, which help boost your happiness and confidence. It also will naturally release your stress and tension during hard times.
Exercise often with your child. This way, they will feel better about themselves and help them know that they are healthy no matter what their body looks like.
If your child enjoys a sport, sign them up and encourage them by cheering them on. This will not only get them outside doing an activity that helps them exercise but it will boost their self-esteem having you in the stands rooting for them. On days when they don’t have a practice, you can get outside and do the event with them or help them prepare for it.
11. Replace Negative talk with Positive Talk
What is negative self-talk? This is the little voice that pops in your head from time to time that tells you. Your no good, you don’t deserve something, you are ugly/fat, etc. All the words and phrases that will help you self-sabotage your success. Eventually, a person will believe all that negative talk they tell themselves, stop this before it becomes crippling.
Start making negative words be banned from household topics. Sometimes those negative words are really strong words like “hate” instead teach them softer words like “I don’t like,” or have them explain the emotion. Make them replace the word with something that isn’t permanent.
If you hear your child say he or she can’t do something have them explain why they can’t. Is there physically a reason they are not able to do it? You need to figure out if they really can’t do something or if they can with just a little help or brainstorming with us.
Ex: My son came home and told me he couldn’t get an A on a French test. haha Why not? I just can’t, no matter what I try. It was really because he wasn’t putting much effort into it. I made him stop and think of ways we as a family could help him. We sat down and made index cards with the English word on one side and the french word on the other with the definition. We even included the pronunciation. Now I could help him study and we even tried to drop the word in sentences when we could. By the way, he got an A on his next test.
Help your child replace those negative words with positive self-talk words.
12. Goal Setting
Teach your child to set clear goals that they can attain. Children reach past the stars, which is great, but it often means they don’t reach their goals until later in life. Have a goal-setting day to make goals your child can achieve in a week.
Then, have a celebration when your child achieves their goal and sets a new one! They will start to see that they can truly achieve anything they put their minds to. As soon as they see their accomplishments and feel that sense of pride, their self-esteem will increase.
Having good self-esteem takes a lot of work. Start wherever you are today and consistently work on building your child’s self-esteem. Make sure to include them in this process, so they will naturally always build and grow their self-esteem throughout their lives. Use any of these self-esteem activities and watch your child’s happiness and self-worth grow!