building self esteem activities

Building Self-Esteem Activities for Kids

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Do you ever just know that your child is struggling with their self-esteem? Maybe it’s the way they are carrying themselves, or the small comments that they make. Self-esteem is an essential aspect of your child’s development that lays the foundation for a happy and successful life. It encompasses their beliefs and feelings about themselves, their abilities, and their worth. Nurturing self-esteem in children will equip them with the necessary confidence and resilience that they need to navigate life’s challenges. But, it doesn’t always feel easy to nurture self-esteem in your kids. Self-esteem-building activities can help.

Why Build Self-Esteem in Kids?

Developing healthy self-esteem in children empowers them in so many ways! When kids possess a strong sense of self-worth, they become more confident in facing challenges, seeking help when needed, and embracing their mistakes as learning opportunities. They also form healthier relationships, respect themselves and others, and feel in control of their lives.

Conversely, low self-esteem can lead to difficulties in making and keeping friends, feelings of frustration, anger, and anxiety, being subject to teasing and bullying, adopting self-defeating attitudes and behaviors, succumbing to peer pressure, and withdrawing from social interactions and activities.

By actively pursuing self-esteem-building activities, parents can help children overcome challenges and develop a positive outlook on themselves and the world around them.

Signs of Low Self-Esteem

building self esteem activities

Do you know the signs of low self-esteem in children? When you can recognize that your child is struggling, you can address and support them in building up their self-esteem. Common signs of low self-esteem include:

  • Lack of motivation or passion
  • Difficulties with friends
  • Negative self-talk
  • Frequent frustration
  • Fear of new situations or embarrassment
  • Resistance to trying new things
  • Issues with communication
  • Behavioral problems.

It’s so important to recognize these signs and intervene early. This can help you to prevent long-term effects of low self-esteem on your child’s well-being, such as relationship issues, weight problems, stress, body image challenges, anxiety, or even dependency on substances like alcohol or drugs.

Building Self-Esteem Activities: A Fun Path to Self-Worth and Confidence

It’s not enough to sit your child down and tell them to feel better about themselves. Kids, even teens, learn through doing things. They learn through play. Try these ideas:

Write a letter to yourself

Encourage your child to reflect on their strengths, achievements, and positive qualities by writing a letter to themselves. This can help them recognize their worth and reinforce self-appreciation.

Practice accepting compliments

Organize group activities where kids can exchange compliments and practice accepting them gracefully, responding with a simple “thank you.” You could even do this around the dinner table together as a family each night.

Reframe negative self-talk

Teach children to reframe negative thoughts into positive ones by writing them down on paper. On a blank piece of paper, draw a line down the middle. Write down common negative thoughts on the left column. In the right column, encourage your child to reframe that negative thought into a positive one. This can help your child challenge negative self-perceptions and replace them with affirming and empowering statements.

building self esteem activities

Celebrate achievements and accomplishments

You are your child’s best cheerleader. Help them recognize and celebrate their achievements, both big and small. This cultivates a sense of pride and reinforces their abilities and worth. Make a big deal about the good that comes from your child. If you don’t, no one will!

Keep a self-esteem journal

Encourage your child to keep a journal where they can reflect on their daily experiences, successes, and moments of gratitude. Writing down positive aspects of their lives helps them appreciate who they are and develop resilience to whatever life throws their way.

Create a Mind map

Have your child create a visual representation of their strengths and positive qualities using a mind map. In the middle, have them write their name. Web out from there what they are good at. What they like about themselves, and more. This activity allows them to see themselves in a positive light and reinforces their self-worth.

Keep a gratitude Journal

Help your kids to see the positive by keeping a daily gratitude journal. Each day, they can write down three things they are grateful for, nurturing a sense of appreciation for the positive aspects of their lives.

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Make a list of “Things I like about me”

Together with your child, create a list of qualities, talents, and characteristics they appreciate about themselves. This activity helps them focus on their positive attributes.

Get creative

Activities such as drawing, painting, crafting, and writing stories are so good for kids! Creative outlets provide opportunities for self-expression, fostering a sense of accomplishment and self-worth. As your kids express themselves, they’ll learn more about themselves.

Teach basic life skills

One time I asked a close family member how I could foster better self-esteem in one of my kids. Her response…” teach them basic life skills.” That advice has held true for me.

When kids learn practical life skills like cooking, doing laundry, or managing money, they gain confidence in themselves. Being independent is a great way to help them feel good about themselves.

Read also: Life Skills Kids Should Know by 8 Years Old

One-on-one time

Dedicate quality one-on-one time with each of your children. As you spend time with your child, they feel their value in your life. You, more than anyone else in the world, have the power to make them feel valuable and important.

Need ideas for one-on-one time with your kids?

Read: Kids Date Ideas

Encourage age-appropriate chores

Responsibility and achievement can help your child feel capable. As they learn to complete tasks independently, it promotes self-esteem and self-reliance.

Read: Kids Chores By Age

Affirmations

Help your child select two affirmations, such as “I can do hard things” or “I am capable,” and write them down and place them in visible locations like bathroom mirrors or on a computer screen. Encourage them to say these affirmations every time they see them, reinforcing positive self-beliefs.

Leinuosen 48 Pcs Affirmation Cards Kids Daily Positive Affirmation Card Motivational Meditation…
  • What You Will Get: the package contains 48 pieces of affirmation cards, they can give you motivation when you feel down, face setbacks or stay dilemma, and can also bring encouragement when you gain small progress or success, not only suitable for yourself, but also can share them with your friends
  • Appropriate Occasions: with these boho motivation cards, you can apply them in many occasions, such as office, school and home, suitable for using to reward employees who make progress in works, motivate students who make big progress or fall down in class exam, the people who receive them can keep positive attitude towards life

Set goals

Work with your child to set SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound) goals. Track progress and celebrate milestones along the way to foster a sense of accomplishment.

Read: Setting SMART Goals for Kids

Play cooperative board games

Opt for cooperative board games that emphasize teamwork and valuing every member’s contribution. This promotes a sense of collaboration rather than competition. My kids love collaborative games, and we have far less hurt feelings or sad endings. Here are a couple of our favorite collaborative games:

Peaceable Kingdom Gnomes at Night A Cooperative Maze Game for 2 to 4 Kids Ages 6+
  • DARE TO ENTER THE MAZE: Gnomes at Night is a cooperative search-and-find maze game where players work as a team to maneuver the magnetic gnome movers around the maze. Work together in this quick-thinking communication game where every second counts!
  • CALLING IN THE GNOMES: Twelve of the Queen’s most priced treasures have been stolen! The thief was last seen running through the castle’s stone maze, dropping objects in his haste to get away. It’s up to the Gnomes to find the treasures and return them to the Queen before morning. Can you help?
Zombie Kidz Evolution | Cooperative Game for Kids and Families | Ages 7+ | 2 to 4 Players | 15…
  • #1 KIDS GAME: Consistently in the lead position of the ranking in the Childrens category on the reference website BoardGameGeek.
  • PARENTS CAN PLAY TOO: While the game may be easy to teach, even parents will be engaged with the strategy and cooperation needed to beat the zombies.
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OUTFOXED, A CLASSIC WHO DUNNIT GAME FOR PRESCHOOLERS, 4 players
  • COOPERATIVE WHODUNIT GAME FOR PRESCHOOLERS: Introduce kids ages 4 and up to this classic, cooperative gameplay. Featuring a fun evidence scanner and adorable fox suspects.
  • CRACK THE CASE: Can you help find out which Fox stole Mrs. Plumpert’s prized pot pie? You’ll have to work fast to gather clues and rule out suspects together before the guilt fox high-tails it towards the exit!
Peaceable Kingdom Race to the Treasure! Cooperative Path Building Game for 2 to 4 Kids Ages 5+
  • COOPERATIVE GAME: Build a path with your team and collect 3 keys on a race to beat Ogre to the treasure! It’s a game where everyone plays together, no one is left out, and everybody has fun!
  • FUN CHALLENGE: Kids love working together to beat the Ogre. Players strategize, cooperate and build the path together. Building onto a path encourages kids to think 2 steps ahead and examine options.
Peaceable Kingdom Hoot Owl Hoot Cooperative Color Matching Game for 2 to 4 Kids Ages 4+
  • HURRY LITTLE OWLS: In this color coordinated matching game, players cooperate to help the owls fly back to their nest before the sun comes up. Help all the owls home before sunrise and everyone wins!
  • LEARNING AND GROWING: Kids learn simple strategy, following directions & taking turns. Two levels of play allow the game to grow with your child and lets older kids play with younger ones too.
Peaceable Kingdom Space Escape – Cooperative Strategy Space Adventure Game by The Inventor of…
  • Snakes in Space: A band of snakes has infiltrated the Mole Rats’ Space Station! Work together to help the busy Mole Rats gather their equipment and make it to their escape pod before time runs out!
  • Games that Grow: In Peaceable Kingdom’s Space Escape, kids practice communication, strategy and shared decision-making as they work as a team to collect the Mole Rats’ equipment, dodge the snakes and get to the escape pod!

Discuss good friendships

Talk to your kids about what makes a good friend. Have them write down qualities they desire in a friend and ways they can improve as friends themselves. This activity promotes self-reflection and encourages positive relationship-building skills.

Growing Friendships: A Kids’ Guide to Making and Keeping Friends
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Kennedy-Moore, Eileen (Author)

Explore music

Help your child find and explore music genres they enjoy. Music can be a powerful tool for self-expression, and boosting confidence. My oldest son loves music and uses it to help himself regulate his mood when he’s feeling low (or even happy).

Make a bucket list

Sit down and help your child create a bucket list of things they want to experience or achieve. Setting goals and having exciting aspirations instills a sense of purpose and excitement, fueling their self-esteem.

Compliment jar

As a family, create a compliment jar where family members can write uplifting messages for each other. Reading these compliments can help your kids internalize positive feedback and boost their self-esteem.

Play self-esteem games

Explore games designed to enhance self-esteem. These games promote emotional well-being and do it in a fun way! Our favorites are below.

I Like Me 123: The Social Game of Self-Esteem
  • FROM THE MAKERS OF CBT 123 comes I Like Me 123: The Social Game of Self-Esteem
  • BUILDS POSITIVE SELF ESTEEM and reduces social anxiety using growth mindset and humanistic psychology. School counselors and play therapists will love using I Like Me 123 as a warmup or a self esteem building activity for individuals and small groups. Kids love playing I Like Me 123
Totem: Self-Esteem & Family Bonding Game Ages 8+ – Therapy Games for Kids, Teens, Adults, Counselors…
  • Team Development: Elevate team spirit with team building games for work adults, fostering unity through engaging team building activities. Great for HR Professionals and Team Leaders.
  • Mental & Emotional Health: Our mental health games and therapy games for adults combine with mental health therapy tools to support recovery and personal growth.
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StrongSuit – The Tower of Self Esteem, CBT Play Therapy Game for Kids, Teens | Tools to Boost Social…
  • 👍 ENCOURAGES POSITIVE THINKING- The Tower of Self Esteem is all about building up yourself and others and eliminating the need to compete to win. Helps children learn cooperation skills to work together as a team to build the tower while also helping them realize their own self-worth
  • 🚀 BOOST SELF CONFIDENCE- StrongSuit is a social skills game and anxiety tool that consists of a series of questions connecting personal, emotional and social strengths of each player – Strengthens coping skills, ability to think creatively, and look past their frustrations to work individually and together towards a common goal of constructing the tower of cards

Read books about self-esteem

Read books that talk about self-esteem to your kids. Books are so effective at teaching uncomfortable or hard topics. They are also great at introducing talking points on these hard topics. Kind like an “in” to the tough things you want to say. One of my favorites is A Bad Case of Stripes!

Read: Kids Books for Self-Esteem

Complete a kindness challenge

Start a kindness challenge with your kids. A kindness challenge is where you perform acts of kindness for others. Acts of kindness foster empathy, compassion, and a sense of self-worth derived from making a positive impact on others’ lives.

Read: Kindness Activities for Kids

Practice mindfulness and breathing

Introduce your child to mindfulness practices and meditation techniques. Helping your child to clear their thoughts can be a great way to help them stop negative self-talk and cultivate better thoughts.

Mindfulness can also help them manage stress, increase focus, and cultivate a sense of calm.

Read: Mindfulness Books for Kids

Build Exercise Habits

Help your child find an exercise (or two) that they love. This could be anything like walking, running, dancing, or practicing yoga. Regular exercise releases endorphins, improves mood, and boosts self-confidence.

Decrease screen time

Set limits on screen time to ensure that your kids have ample opportunities for real-life interactions, physical activities, and self-reflection.

Building self-esteem in your kids is a journey that requires consistent effort and support. But you can create a nurturing environment where your kids will develop a positive self-image, embrace their unique qualities, and face challenges with confidence and resilience. Remember, each child is unique, so adapt these activities to suit their individual personalities and interests. Together, let’s empower our children to become confident, self-assured individuals who believe in their own worth and potential.

building self esteem activities

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