Building Self-esteem In Children

Children with self-esteem believe in themselves, can cope with the fundamental dynamics of life and maintain healthy relationships. Self-esteem is the ability to value own thoughts, opinions and decisions.

It is good to note that self-esteem is not an inborn trait but a learned virtue that grows with time. Self-esteem is vital for success in life since a person can determine what needs to be done and follow through with the process.

Children with self-esteem exhibit self-confidence since they have developed a self-identity that would enable them to thrive in life.

We need to encourage children to make decisions, respect their feelings, and always find a way out in every situation to grow their self-esteem.

How to build self-esteem in children

Self-esteem starts developing in early childhood. The love, concern and care given to a baby will result in a confident child. The praise a child receives from caregivers as they grow and develop in different stages of life provides a strong foundation for self-esteem.

The growth of self-esteem in children is a continuous process. The actions, activities and people around a child contribute to the development of self-esteem. As the children succeed in their activities, they gain satisfaction that propels them to try out more challenges.

Always remember to speak positive words to your child and praise them for their efforts. Please help them set achievable goals since success is an excellent boost to self-esteem.

Positive self-talk

Children should be encouraged to replace their negative thoughts with positive ones. They can achieve this by constantly celebrating every accomplishment they make. The words they use that make them proud of themselves will be an encouragement if used when they feel low about themselves.

Writing down good things about yourself and reading them when you are discouraged is a suitable method of self-talk that improves self-esteem.

Celebrating their achievements

It goes a long way when your children hear you congratulate them for their achievements, however small they could be. It is also great to encourage them for the effort they put in various areas of their lives.

If a child has managed a task they were struggling with, let them know you are proud of their achievements. Positive words to your children will go a long way in growing their self-esteem.

Spending time with people who they like

Being around people who care for you is therapy in itself. We need to help our children gain the tenacity to say no to toxic friends without feeling guilty about it. They need to know that the person they spend time with dramatically affects how they view themselves.

It may not be easy for a child to cut ties with a person they have known for a long time, but understanding the emotional baggage they carry because of their frequent interactions helps a lot. The bottom line is to be your child’s best friend.

Focusing on their strengths

Make space for your child to enjoy what they like doing. If your child is good at sports, provide them with various sports equipment. Take them out to watch multiple games. Enroll them in sports activities around your area.

Allowing your child to develop their strengths gives them an upper hand in dealing with their weaknesses. Your participation in what they love doing builds their confidence and self-esteem.

Teach them how to help others

Teach your child the importance of being helpful to those around them as much as possible. It could be a neighbor, a classmate or a family member. When we put a smile on somebody’s face through our actions, we automatically boost our confidence.

Helping others is also an avenue of making friends who will be there for you when you need help. Having a circle of friends with which your child can play and share their struggles goes a long way in solving whatever issues could become a stumbling block to their self-esteem.

Have time to relax

Let us help our children with ideas and activities that would allow them to relax and rejuvenate. A good example is listening to music while resting on a couch. A worn-out body and mind may lead to negative thoughts since one cannot think of solutions to the issues at hand.

Such a situation may contribute to increased stress, leading to low self-esteem. Other activities to help your child relax include walking a dog, drawing, painting, dancing and simple indoor games. Allow your child to choose the action that they enjoy doing.

Tips that help improve a child’s self-esteem

  • Learning new skills
  • Taking part in their favorite activities
  • Achieving their goals
  • Receiving praises and rewards for their accomplishments
  • Making and keeping friends
  • Good grades at school

Importance of self-esteem

One can quickly notice a child’s self-esteem by how good they feel about themselves. Children with self-esteem can express their needs and feelings and hence have self-confidence. A child who has developed self-esteem over time can cope with failures and mistakes.

A child’s performance at school is greatly influenced by how well they think about themselves. Positive thoughts will always give positive results. A motivated child from within is a proud human being ready to try their best in every situation.

Some characteristics of a child with self-esteem.

  • They are proud of their achievements and successes.
  • They believe in themselves.
  • Talk highly about self.
  • Ready to participate in group activities
  • They feel accepted and respected by family and friends.
  • Able to overcome peer pressure
  • Are independent
  • Are happy

Causes of low self-esteem in children

Bullying – Children who go through bullying experience psychological stress that leads to low self-esteem. The child tends to believe the negative comments from the bully as accurate about them.

The comments become a stumbling block to their confidence. Intervention is very crucial to help the child not fall into depression.

Family conflicts – Children are greatly affected by any instability at home. They may not verbalize their fears, but they absorb and internalize all the negative vibes in the house. Their inability to offer help leads to emotional torture and anxiety, leading to low self-esteem.

Health issues – Children enjoy being in the company of others. A child suffering from an illness or disability may be unable to mingle and have fun with the rest. They may end up feeling isolated and lonely, which may lead to low self-esteem. The sickness of a family member or people they love may also contribute.

Parental care – Parents who are not fully involved in a child’s life contribute to their emotional instability. Children will feel low if they are not receiving the care and support they require from their parents. Lack of love and unavailability of parents in children’s lives will lead to a sense of insecurity and low confidence.

Traits present in a child with low self–esteem

  • They lack confidence
  • They doubt their abilities.
  • Have negative thoughts about self
  • Exhibit negative behaviors
  • Compare themselves with others.
  • Feel inferior to other kids
  • Keep to themselves; they avoid other kids.
  • Are not able to accept criticism or praise

How to help a child with low self-esteem

Some children may be able to speak out if they feel inadequate or things do not go as expected; others may not. Some may avoid challenging situations or give excuses for not participating in an activity.

Some children with low self-esteem may become aggressive, while others become lone rangers. If a child portrays such behaviors, then there is a need to offer help.

Spend time with your child to be able to help and guide them appropriately.

Concentrate on the activities that your child is happy about

Be a good role model to your children

A lot of praises, love and hugs will do the magic.


Children will build self-esteem in an environment full of love and acceptance. Understanding your child’s needs and life in totality would be a good foundation for helping them build self-esteem. Allow your child to make mistakes and let them know that failure is part of life.

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