Activities to Help Improve Children's Self Esteem

May 06, 2021


Children who have a healthy amount of self-esteem tend to have the confidence to try new things. This helps them grow, improves their critical thinking and their self-help skills. They feel good about themselves and are better equipped to deal with setbacks. So, they tend to have more friends and do better at the tasks at hand.

Children are able to perceive right from the time they are babies. They know when they are loved and they recognize when they have to put on a show to get your attention. All of this has a direct impact on their view of themselves. And this in turn has an impact on how they lead their lives. So, how do you get it right? Here are a few ideas.

Self-Esteem Activities for Kids

The first step is to make sure you spend time with them and learn about the way they approach a task given to them. For that, you need some tasks that will put their thoughts on display.

1. A Chore with a Purpose

The best way to get them cracking is to give them a chore. This does wonders for self-esteem if you communicate with them that you are trusting them with a task. But it is not about any chore or something you want to get done.

Make a list of things that your child can do. Keep in mind that it needs a purpose which means you need a larger goal that serves the environment around them. So, make it something to do with nature or perhaps animals. If you have pets or plants, you can ask your child to water the plants or clean up after the pet.

Walking a dog is also not a bad idea, but it depends on the breed of the dog and how old your child is. So, let’s table that for a second.

Make sure you tell your child that you are happy with their effort and progress. Do not shower them with unnecessary compliments but do not ignore the work they did.

Find a balance. If they have made any mistakes in the process, you must point them out and show them how to do it right. But do not be harsh with them or punish the child for the mistakes. This will do the exact opposite of what the exercise is supposed to accomplish.  

2. Artwork for Home or Improvising a Recipe

This is a collaborative effort that not only helps their self-esteem and makes it fun for them but is also a great bonding opportunity. If your child likes to draw or paint, hanging those up on the refrigerator or walls of the house gives them a great deal of confidence. You can’t buy that stuff.

So, take some time and get some art supplies that your kid would appreciate and work on a piece with them. Talk to them about their process and what makes them create what they did.

This is applicable to all kinds of art. For instance, if your child has talent in the kitchen, you can make something together. Take a traditional item like pancakes and ask them to improvise.

Encourage them to play with the ingredients in theory and write down a recipe with the quantities next to each item. Before they start, let them know that it is perfectly alright to make a couple of mistakes too as long as they learn from it.

Now, this has an element of danger to it. So, you must supervise their every move carefully. In fact, if your child is quite young, you might want to make them your sous chef while you do the heavy lifting.

Have a conversation and pick a dish to experiment with before you go grocery shopping so that you don’t run out of the ingredients. When the cooking is done, teach them to clean up after themselves.

Encourage them to think about how they approached the recipe differently. It’s a very stimulating exercise for the mind. Some children observe more than adults and have the ability to grasp more than we think.

If all goes well, they can improve upon the recipe over time too. And who knows, maybe you have managed to discover a hobby or a profession in the process.

3. List Out Fears and Add ‘But’

This is a simple one. All you need is a pen and paper to get started. Children have quite a few fears that skip the adult mind. They might also not want to share sometimes since no one asked. So, here is your chance.

Once in a while, it is a good idea to sit down with them and ask them to list out their fears. The way you build on their self-esteem is by adding a ‘but’ to the sentence.

For instance, if they are afraid of a public speaking assignment, they must write, “I am afraid of presenting in front of the class because…”

That’s step one. The next move is for you to encourage them to imagine that they are actually doing it. Reassure them that they have your support and that you believe in them.

Once the exercise is done, they must write down the terrifying outcomes they imagine. For each negative outcome, you must allay their fears and find silver linings.

4. Make a That’s-What-I-Like-About-You List

This is an interesting one. Every time there is a gathering of people and this could just be your immediate family post-dinner, take the opportunity to play this game. It’s rather simple and you don’t need any supplies. But if you can get a pen and paper that will be cool.

Ask everyone in the room to say one nice thing about each of the members in the room. This generally develops positivity and boosts their confidence. It might even draw their attention to the positive attributes that they may not have noticed about themselves.

If that is not an option for some reason, there are other versions of this. Take a pen and paper and write down a list of their successes. You could start with your own successes and ask them to follow your lead. Remind them of the little things because they might forget. Make this a weekly, if not daily, habit as something to do before going to bed.

You could also get them to write a list of the things they think they failed at. This way you get an insight into how they see themselves. If the list of failures is longer than successes, there’s something to talk about. Walk them through the difficult moments.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What Are the Signs of Low Self-Esteem in a Child?

A: There are many signs that demonstrate the lack of self-esteem in a child. Here are a few to look out for;

  • Lying or cheating when they are about to lose a game.
  • Regresses to acting like a baby. This typically invites teasing and adds to the injury.
  • Becomes bossy or inflexible to hide feelings of powerlessness.
  • Gives up on a task or game at the first sign of trouble. Notice if this is playful or an act of frustration.
  • Avoids a challenge before trying because of fear of failure.

Q: What Causes Low Self-Esteem in a Child?

A: There could be many reasons either at home or at school or both that could crush someone’s self-esteem.

  1. Kids between 6 to 11 years of age tend to compare themselves with their peers. This can affect their confidence adversely.
  2. They might not be doing very well academically or artistically than others. That can lead to feelings of incompetence and insecurity.
  3. They might feel the need to perform better if they think that is a way to earn the love of their parents or caregivers. If they don’t meet their own expectations, that causes problems too.

Q: How Do You Improve a Child's Self Esteem?

A: Balance the praise and punishment. Don’t overdo or underdo either of them. Make sure you tell them what they did right. Find a balance between encouraging them to make mistakes while telling them why and learning from those mistakes. Don’t compare them with other children, instead, teach them that they have their own strengths.

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