It’s interesting how early self-esteem becomes an issue for children. Babies are bold as they begin to explore the world. Things change a bit when they’re getting comfortable with a new toy as a toddler or getting used to new friend groups in preschool. Their self-confidence grows. But it may also take a few hits along the way.
A.J. has always been a pretty confident child, but as he’s gotten into his pre-teen years people’s opinions of him and bullying have been hurdles. It’s a neverending process to build his self-esteem.
There are so many ways we can build confidence and self-esteem in our children as parents. Be sure to always show your children your unconditional love for them. Praise them for their efforts rather than just their successes. One of the best ways you can help build your child’s self-esteem is through your example. That means accepting all compliments that come your way, even if you don’t always believe them. Do NOT compare yourself or your children with others.
A child’s self-esteem is their overall sense of worth and, ultimately, their opinion of themselves. If your child’s self-esteem is low, they won’t feel successful and may not try much at all. They can also be more lonely, sad, and afraid of the future. Here are some simple self-esteem activities to start with your children this week. It is never too early to start! My income-earning affiliate links are included.
Self-Esteem Activities for Kids
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’ll have the tools to work through their stress.
Intentionally, starting your day with a positive outlook can change the day’s trajectory.
If things go wrong later in the day, kids can take a much-needed break by having quiet time, reading a book, or thinking positive thoughts (more on affirmations in a moment).
Enjoy some yoga or a 5-minute guided meditation every morning to help set their mood for the day. If you have a favorite meditation app, leave the name below in the comments.
2. Positive Affirmations
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 up your own affirmations 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.
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. A summer journal is another option to get them to write for a few months and then look back on how their self-esteem has grown.
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.
4. What I Love About You
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.
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.
5. Date With You
Make it a habit to go on a date with your children regularly. 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.
I’ve learned from my friends with larger families, that they take time to do one-on-one time with each child for these special moments.
6. Random Acts of Kindness
When you are kind to others, you always feel better about yourself in return. Try to do random acts of kindness for people. 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 respect you more. Then, in turn, people will be more kind to you. Kindness is always an easy way to build self-worth and self-love.
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7. Create Something
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.
8. 5 Things I Love About Myself
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.
9. Failure at Dinner Table
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.
10. 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.
I created a helpful family goals planner you can download for free.
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.
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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!