How To Build Self Esteem In Your Child

Self-esteem is the way in which an individual perceives himself/herself.  Their own thoughts and feelings about themselves and their ability to achieve in ways that are important to them. There self-esteem is shaped not only by a their own perceptions and expectations, but also by the perceptions and expectations of significant people in their life. How they are thought of and treated by parents, teachers and friends. The closer the perceived self (how they sees themself) comes to the ideal self (how they would like to be), the higher the self-esteem.

Activity to help strength your child’s self esteem?

Create special family time, sit in a circle and each person goes around and says something positive about the other family members.  Then go around again and have everyone name something that they feel positive about themselves.  The best way to encourage positive self-image is to mirror positive statements about ourselves.

Validate your child's feelings. When your child suffers a blow to his/her self-esteem, it's important to validate his feelings. For example, if a hurtful comment made by a friend or a teacher upsets the child, say to the child, "Yes, I could see how that comment would upset you" or "you seem upset by what that person said, how are you feeling?" Only after the child feels that his feelings have been validated will he be open to you bolstering his self-esteem by discussing how that makes him or her feel and then discuss the positive things that others have said that make him feeling good. 

Activity to boost their self esteem when they feel down?

Have them do something that they feel confident about.  It could be a sport, a game, a puzzle, a dance, or singing.   While they are doing this activity, praise them for their success and abilities.

Encouraging Positive Self Talk

Positive Self Talk is a key component to building a child’s self esteem.  Teach your child to practice making positive self-statements.  Focusing on the positive in a situation can transform how they see the situation and feel about it.   I can’t do anything right! to - > I am stuck on this problem, how can I find ways to solve it. 

Have your child list 5 things they like about themselves. It could be appearance, personality, skills, abilities, hobbies, academic, peer relations, etc. help guide them if they are stuck but do not give them an answer.  Instead of saying, "How about how good you are at soccer", say, "What about something you are proud of that relates to a sport or activity you do". This helps them come up with it on their own and feel confident that they thought of it.

 Creating a Positive and Nurturing Environment

How we treat each other and mirror this behavior is a large part of how our child see’s the world.  If they are hearing negative and critical statements they will in turn do that to themselves. 

Your child's self-esteem initially develops within the family and thus is influenced greatly by the feelings and perceptions that a family has of itself. Some of the preceding comments apply to the family in building its self-esteem. Also, bear in mind that family pride is essential to self-esteem and can be nourished and maintained in many ways, including participation or involvement in community activities, tracing a family's heritage and ancestors, or caring for extended family members.

Avoid criticism that takes the form of ridicule or shame. Sometimes it is necessary to criticize a child’s actions, and it is appropriate that parents do so. When, however the criticism is directed to the child as a person it can easily deteriorate into ridicule or shame. It is important to learn to use “I statements” rather than “You statements” when giving criticism. For instance say, “I would like you to keep your clothes in the proper place in your closet or drawers not lying all over your room;” rather than saying “Why are you such a lazy slob? Can’t you take care of anything?”.


Find a community activity that you can participate together that can create a positive experience for them and to create a strong family unit together. Some activities could be creating a garden and donating the food to those in need, giving back to the community, involvement in fundraising activities.