Activities To Boost Self-esteem In Kids
Self-esteem is your opinion of yourself. It is the overall sense of self-worth and value that you have of yourself. This self-confidence is natural for some kids but others need a little nudge in the right direction to grow it effectively. It can be heartbreaking to hear your kid say things like 'I can't pronounce this word', ' I don't have any friends, or 'I'm not cool like her'. The words we say and the mindset we instill in them are essential for them.
We will be taking a deeper look at self-esteem in kids and activities they can do to boost it.
Signs of low esteem in kids
If your child has low self-esteem, they could be showing some of these signs:
● Unable to communicate with others. ● Afraid of trying out new things. ● Constantly frustrated. ● Highly uncomfortable in new situations. ● Lack of motivation and enthusiasm. ● View themselves negatively by comparing themselves to others. ● Have negative self-talk.
Things that affect a child's self-esteem
Although some things are uncontrollable, these could be the reasons contributing to your child's self-esteem:
● Poor parenting style. ● Academic problems. ● Bullying. ● Weight issues. ● Moving to a new school or residence. ● Divorce. ● Feeling left out. ● Childhood traumas like abuse. ● Poor social skills. ● Special needs. ● Bereavement.
Having low self-esteem makes kids:
● Feel anxious and frustrated. ● Feel like failures who cannot succeed in anything. ● Have a hard time making friends. ● Become an easy target for bullies. ● Be withdrawn and depressed. ● Lack self-drive and motivation to do things. ● Be overly concerned with what other people think of them.
Having high self-esteem makes kids:
● Become responsible. ● Form healthy relationships. ● Value and respect themselves. ● Face challenges courageously. ● Ask for help when they need it. ● Not be afraid of making mistakes because they know mistakes to give them lessons. ● Feel they have more control of their lives. ● Stand up for themselves. ● Do things confidently.
Ways to build Self-esteem in kids
1. Give them approval
Kids need approval every now and then. Positive parental approval improves a child's sense of self and helps them with decision-making even when they are adults. Make your kid know that you love them no matter what. Even when they do something wrong, let them know that they made a bad choice but that does not make them a bad kid.
2. Ask for their advice
Ask your kid for advice concerning something or their opinion on something. Listen to them as they share their thoughts. You can ask them where they would like the family to go for a weekend getaway or what they think about your outfit. Letting them share their opinions shows that you value what they have to say and gives them a sense of importance.
3. Don't compare kids
Do not compare kids because they develop at different paces, with some being fast and others taking their time. Kids also have different strengths and abilities. Just because your neighbour's kid is good in academics does not mean that your kid should be too. Your kid could be an exceptional athlete. Instead of comparing your kid to other kids, try finding out what they are good at and help them become better at it instead.
4. Praise their efforts
Praise their efforts and not the outcome. Instead of telling them 'You're so smart' tell them, 'You worked so hard and that's why you attained such an impressive grade'. This helps them associate effort with the outcome. They get to develop a growth mindset of if I work hard at this, I will get my desired results.
5. Hug them regularly
Hug your kid regularly. This is beneficial to them in so many ways. It will create a strong bond between you, it is good for brain development, physical growth, and emotional support. Hugging your child helps them feel more loved, wanted, protected, and builds their self-worth. Family therapist Virginia Satir once said that we need 4 hugs a day for survival, we need 8 hugs a day for maintenance, and we need 12 hugs a day for growth. So, are you giving your kid enough hugs? Activities to boost self-esteem in kids
If your child is struggling with self-esteem, you can help them overcome their fears by making them believe in their capabilities. Here are some positive activities to try:
1. Pack for a trip
On your next family trip, ask your kid to pack their suitcase. This will give them a sense of independence. You can later check if they have packed appropriately then instead of pointing out what they missed, prompt them to think of what they may have missed.
Instead of saying 'you forgot to pack your swimming costume' ask 'do you have everything you need for swimming at the beach?'
2. Invent a recipe
Ask them to come up with a recipe, for instance, a pancake recipe. Let them write all the ingredients, adding whatever they want to it, without interfering. Then go ahead and help them prepare the pancakes. When the pancakes are ready, you can both sample them. Ask your kid what they could have done differently and what changes they would like to make. Then allow them to try again. This gives them room for creativity while teaching them to see mistakes as learning opportunities and not failures.
3. Give them a chore
A regular chore shows you trust your kid and will instill responsibility in them. Have them pick a chore to help around the house. This gives them confidence in their skills. They could choose to water the flowers or to walk the dog. Remember to compliment their actions, consistency, and discipline.
Give praises like 'the dog looks healthy and happy because you have been walking her' or 'the plants are growing fast and look vibrant because you water them regularly'. If they do not do something well, guide them on how it's supposed to be done. Keep in mind to stick to positive reinforcement.
4. Acts of kindness
Challenge your kid to do one act of kindness every day. People feel good about themselves when they do good to others and your kid will too. You can create a list of acts of kindness and have them tick one when they do it. Examples are holding the door for someone, carrying an extra granola bar for a homeless person, feeding birds, doing a chore for someone without them knowing, using kind words when speaking to others, etc.
5. What I love about you
Create a chart with your child's name in the middle and ask each family member to write three things that they love about them. They should avoid physical attributes like 'beautiful eyes' and instead focus on the child's positive traits. It could be their kindness, hardworking nature, or how caring they are. Place the chart in their bedroom where they can easily see it. It will be a good reminder of their strengths and that they are appreciated whenever they feel down.
6. Big wins
Sit down with your kid and think of all the big things that they have accomplished at their age. Go ahead and create a list of those things. You can even add a different list of things that they want to accomplish. Hang both lists in their room. Seeing their wins and goals will make them feel good about themselves, give them confidence, and make them strive to achieve more.
Recap Kids want to fit in, have friends, and try new things. However, they may not always have the confidence to do these things. Helping them believe in themselves and what they are capable of doing can greatly boost their self-esteem.