Self-esteem activities for kids are a great way to boost confidence, explore interests and try new things.
Most kids struggle with self-esteem at some point in their lives. Children with high self-esteem have a positive sense of who they are and will be happier, overall, than kids who have poor self-esteem.
Naturally, kids with good self-esteem will be more likely to grow into confident adults… which will have a positive impact on their overall success in life.
Fortunately, there are plenty of self-esteem activities for kids that can help you improve your kids’ confidence. We wanted to share ten of our favorites with you, here.
Teach Them to Pick Themselves Back Up
Failure is an inevitable part of life.
If you aren’t failing, you aren’t trying anything new. Ever.
Help your kids understand that failure is just another opportunity to learn, just a stepping stone to bigger things. Encourage them to focus on the process and what they’re getting out of an experience, rather than the end result.
Have conversations about the power of effort (regardless of the outcome – winning or losing).
The Michael Jordan quote is a great example to use:
“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty six times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Michael Jordan is a huge success because he learned from his mistakes and kept going.
He would never have become the basketball legend he is today if he had allowed himself to be defeated by every missed shot or game lost.
Encourage Them to Help Others
Whether they’re volunteering their time in a more formal setting or just utilizing their own strengths to help a sibling, helping others always improves self-esteem.
It helps them to recognize their strengths as valuable and unique. It changes mindset, encouraging positive thinking and gratitude for their own abilities.
Focus on Their Strengths
Oftentimes, kids who struggle with low self-esteem do so because they feel they’re falling short in one area or another.
Perhaps they’re struggling in a subject in school or feel their performance in sports falls short.
You can counter this and improve their self-esteem by focusing on their strengths.
Steven Spielberg’s mom did this when she encouraged his love of filmmaking rather than chastising him over his poor grades. (He had not yet been diagnosed with dyslexia.)
If your child loves to draw or paint, encourage him to take classes in school or sign him up for classes locally. If he’s musical, perhaps the school band would be a good fit, or even encourage him to start his own band.
Look for New, Hidden Talents
Kids with low self-esteem may be more reluctant to try new things out of fear of failure.
However, if you notice that your child expresses an interest in something new, encourage them to try it. Let them know that they can always stop if they don’t enjoy the activity, but that developing new skills does take time.
Be on the lookout for natural talents as well. If you find your child drawing in his notebook, for example, you may encourage him to take art classes.
Keep an eye out for less obvious talents as well. For example, if you notice that your child is a gifted teacher when helping his siblings, encourage him to use that skill by volunteering for a local organization or perhaps even to provide tutoring to others.
Look for Fun Opportunities to Develop Social Skills
Some kids can develop a fear of social situations, especially if they have been bullied at some point in their lives.
Look for ways that your child can meet other kids with whom they have shared interests.
Again, if they have a love of music, maybe the school band would be a good fit and a way they can meet other kids who share their love of music. Find after-school activities that allow them to use their talents (which make them feel confident) while in a social setting where they can further develop their social skills.
Be Involved in Your Kids’ Activities
Don’t be the parent who Ubers your kids to and from their activities.
(Just kidding. Hopefully that isn’t a “thing” now.)
The truth is, though, that kids will develop confidence in themselves when they recognize that you are confident in them, Mom and Dad.
It’s on you to praise their effort, help them (when needed, not to be confused with taking all responsibility from them), and to always be supportive.
Show interest in their day-to-day lives and get involved in their activities.
Over time, they will hopefully become confident enough in themselves to make new friends and trust their own abilities.
Spend More Time Outdoors
As Angela Hanscom, a pediatric occupational therapist, explains that taking kids outside more can play a big role in boosting confidence.
She points out, “Outdoor play will foster confidence because the more they take risks, [the more] they’re able to overcome them, which is best done outside because you’re allowed to jump off things and spin in circles and have more room to move.”
Spending time outside being active can also have another big confidence-boosting benefit: improving physical well-being. The time outdoors can make kids faster, stronger and overall healthier, which will, in turn, give a big boost of confidence in their own abilities (especially when gym class comes around).
Encourage Participation in Sports
I hesitated to put this on the list.
Not because it’s not incredible for building self-esteem. Because it is.
But because kids can easily feel pressured to participate in sports, and if they don’t feel confident in their abilities, it can have adverse effects.
However, if your child is athletic, sports can be a great way to blow off steam, build social skills and even can provide mentorship opportunities. Sports can also make kids feel like they’re a part of something bigger, which can further build self-esteem.
But, as I said, if they see themselves as a weaker player on the team, it can actually lower their self-esteem. Make sure your kids know they don’t have to participate in sports and that there are plenty of other options for developing skills and getting exercise.
Give Age-Appropriate Responsibilities
As kids get older, it’s generally a good idea to ask them to contribute as a member of the family (whether or not you decide to pay them for those chores is up to you).
Chores foster independence and responsibility while boosting self-esteem (as they see their job well done) and teach kids the basics about what it takes to maintain a home.
Model Positive Self-Esteem
If your child sees or hears you speaking negatively about yourself, he will be more likely to do the same to himself. Celebrate your own successes (or hard work) with your kids. Talk about the skills and efforts needed to accomplish those goals. You can also use it as an opportunity to point out your own child’s skills and how those can apply to the real world.
Final Thoughts on Self-Esteem Activities for Kids
All children are going to face hard knocks and will have to overcome obstacles to be successful. That’s why it’s so important to help them develop a strong sense of self-esteem, so they are able to get back up when they’ve been knocked down.
There are a number of ways you can do that:
- Teach Them to Pick Themselves Back Up – Failure is a Part of Life
- Encourage Them to Help Others
- Focus on Their Strengths
- Be Involved in Your Kids’ Activities
- Look for New, Hidden Talents
- Look for Fun Opportunities to Develop Social Skills
- Spend More Time Outdoors
- Encourage Participation in Sports
- Give Age-Appropriate Responsibilities
- Model Positive Self-Esteem
These are just a few of the ways you can encourage your kids to have good self-esteem.
Do you have any other ideas?
Leave us a comment below.