Express Yourself: Building Self-Esteem

Self-Esteem and self-confidence are something we think of adults either having or lacking… but can kids either have or lack these skills? (Answer: Yes and yes!)  And if so, how do we help boost a child’s confidence and self-esteem?

What is self-esteem?

Self-esteem is having the confidence in one own’s worth and abilities, in addition to self-respect.

What is self-confidence?

Confidence is the trust in oneself, a measure of faith in one’s own abilities.

Why is this important for children to develop?

A positive sense of self is important for children to develop in order to establish and maintain a healthy lifestyle, coping skills, and interpersonal relationship skills with others. Having increased self-esteem and self-confidence is essential for children to grow up with a positive mindset, have the ability to try and complete new challenges, and identify their strengths. Children who are mindful of their self-esteem and self-confidence levels, have the potential to manage unexpected stress with more resiliency and the ability to accept and forgive themselves and others.

How can I improve my child’s self-esteem?

You can increase your child’s self-esteem at any time: during the day, when they are trying something new, or picking out their clothing.

  • Start by giving your child lots of praise (“I’m so proud of you!”)
  • When giving your child praise, explain what they did and why you are proud of them (“I’m so proud of you for cleaning up after yourself by putting your dish in the sink.”)
  • Identify their differences and support their choices (within reason), even if they are not always correct. (“I love the way you used *pipe cleaners* to build the wall, very creative!”)
  • Try as much as possible to stay and remain positive with your child. They will imitate and learn from your reactions. (“It’s so frustrating we are lost, let’s do some teamwork to solve this together.”)
  • Identify and comment on positive traits and characteristics about your child (“Wow Johnny, you climbed all the way to the top, you are so strong, brave, and determined!”)
  • Be supportive, understanding, and caring when your child fails. (“I know learning how to ride a bike is tricky. You are tough, hard-working, and intelligent! We will keep practicing together when you’re ready.”)

 

Questions or concerns?

If you have questions or concerns about your child’s self-esteem, please contact us at info@playworkschicago.com or 773-332-9439.

Kelly Scafidi, MSW, LCSW, DT
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Developmental Therapist

Photo Credit: Haydn Golden via Unsplash.com

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