Seven simple activities to build self-esteem in children

Self-esteem is what we think of ourselves. Our sense of ourselves in the world emerges as a developmental process over time beginning with our earliest relationships.

Building Self-Esteem in Children

The process of repairing mistakes gives energy to the child and your relationship. It gives them a sense of resilience and hope. In contrast, avoiding conflict in an effort to make things smooth can create a sense of anxiety.

Seven simple activities to build self-esteem in children

1. Children should be proud of their achievements

By asking child to list down words that describe them on a piece of paper. It can be negative or positive.
Then asking them to focus only on the good things that people have said about them and make a list of that.
Pasting the photo of the child in the center of the drawing or chart paper.
Asking the child to fill the area around the picture with positive words, adjectives that she can relate to.
Put the drawing sheet or paper in her room, for reinforcing positive beliefs about the self.

2. Listing their wins in life

An effective way to boost the child’s self-esteem is to remind them of their his or her successes.
Give the child a pen and paper or notebook.
Start by writing down the list of successes in life on the front page, leaving space at the bottom to add more later.
To remind the child of their potential, we can also ask his or her to list down their wins every day, before they goes to bed.
Emphasizing that failures are not only ok, but they are important. Take time to notice when the child successfully works through a difficult moment.

3. Fear is a typical feeling for children. Here is an activity for children to face their fears and talk about them

Ask the child to list out the things they are afraid to do. For instance, they could be afraid to go to swimming classes. Or they are scared of doing a class presentation.
The sentences should be something like this:
I am afraid to enroll in the swim team because …
I am afraid to talk to so and so because…
The second step is to imagine doing the thing they fear. Imagine registering for that swim team or talking to that person.
Every time the child writes down what they are afraid of, ask them to write what the possible outcomes would be if they tried it. And next to the negative outcome, get them to write something about possible positive outcomes.

4. Mother-daughter self-esteem activity

Mother-daughter relationships tend to be powerful and also filled with fraught moments. This activity taps into the mother-daughter bond to work on the girl’s self-esteem.
Make two posters with the word ‘ME’ stenciled on them, so that you can fill the letters with text.
Create another poster with the words “MY MOM” and another with “MY GIRL” stenciled on them.
Give the child one “ME” poster and the “MY MOM” poster and ask her to fill it with positive things about herself and her mother. Let the mom work on the remaining two.
Let them exchange the posters or read out the compliments they have for each other.

5. Chore with a purpose

A child’s self-esteem can get a quick boost when they know someone trusts them. What better way to show the child that we trust them than by giving them responsibility for a chore?
Make a list of things that the child can do to care for the environment and animals around them. For example, walking the dog, watering the plants, or mopping the floor.
Every time the child completes the task successfully, compliment them but do not overdo it.
If they make mistakes, help them correct the mistake but do not dwell on it. Chores can contribute to building your child’s self-confidence.

6. Visualization

Our negative thoughts can be so overpowering sometimes that we cannot imagine something nice. If the child is going through such a phase, this activity can help.
Find out why the child thinks they are not good or what they are afraid of doing.
For example, if they are worried about school or performance in a sport, focus on that.
Ask them to imagine and write down what the ideal scenario, in either case, would be.
Then, ask the child to close their eyes and imagine the ideal scenario, and how he or she would feel if it were real.
Ask them to write down how they felt when they visualized the ideal situation and what they thought about themselves.

7. Changing self-talk

Negative self-talk is a sign of low self-confidence. It may help to point this language out and help the child not to speak negatively about themselves. This activity may help change the negative conversations with the self into positive ones.
Make two columns on a sheet of paper. On one side, write “Bad or Negative self-talk” and on the other, write “Good or Positive self-talk.”
Ask the child to list all negative statements that they make about themselves under the Bad self-talk column.
Next, ask the child to turn the negative statements into positive ones. The statements should be clear and specific to the talents or abilities of the child.
We can share how they change their negative self-talk into a positive one and how that helps them.
Engaging children in activities that remind them of their abilities and their self-worth is more effective than getting them to read a book or attend a lecture on positive self-worth. Remember that we have a great influence on the children. Use that influence to help them feel good about themselves. Recognize that working through the inevitable mistakes and disconnections is the most effective tool for building a positive sense of self.

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