Tips for developing self-esteem in children

Self-esteem is imperative to a child’s success; explore these suggestions for easy ways to build self-esteem in your children.

Having positive self-image is critical for success in school, life and relationships. Children view themselves the way others do, especially their parents and caregivers. It is important to celebrate your child’s efforts and achievements. You can help build your child’s self-esteem by encouraging her to complete a difficult task or project. There are some other ways you can help to build your child’s self-esteem:

  • Give praise. This is as powerful as your criticism. It is most effective in small doses and at the right time. You can praise for efforts and attributes; teach to self-praise and say what you see your child doing.
  • The gift of time is also very instrumental in building your child’s self-esteem. Giving your child your undivided, focused attention for a period of time each day is very beneficial to his/her self-esteem, not to mention you will build a better relationship with your child. Children understand that mom and dad are busy, so when you take some of your time and spend it exclusively with him/her it makes them feel valuable.
  • Displaying artwork, drawings, creations and writing is a great way to build your child’s self-esteem. You can display artwork everywhere throughout the house. Cover drawings with clear contact paper and use them for placemats.
  • Take pictures; make a video or an audio tape just for your child. Let your child be the “star!”
  • Write your child a letter, or for younger children who can’t read create a card with a collage of something he/she is interested in, and send it in the mail.
  • Give your child responsibilities that are age appropriate. This will make them feel like part of the family. Be sure to show your full appreciation when it gets done. Keep in mind your child may not be able to make a bed like you can. The first couple of times have your child help/watch you make a bed so he/she knows what the expectation is.
  • Avoid using unkind nicknames.
  • Don’t compare your child to others. Your child is an individual. Teach uniqueness and the value of it.
  • Be enthusiastic! Discourage complaining!

For more information on building self-esteem in young children, see the article “Kids and Self-esteem.”

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