According to the Mental Health Foundation, nearly one in 10 children and young
people are affected by mental health problems such as low self-esteem.
We explain what self-esteem is, the impact low self-esteem has on children and the best self-esteem activities for kids.
Self-esteem is the opinion we have of ourselves.
Children with a healthy level of self-esteem are confident and have positive thoughts about themselves and life. On the other hand, children who suffer from low self-esteem see themselves in a negative and critical way and feel unable to deal with changes or anything new.
Low self-esteem can have severe effects in children such as:
Other signs of low self-esteem include:
A great way to boost children’s self-esteem is by reminding them what they have recently achieved. An achievement can be something as simple as tidying their bedroom or completing their homework. The important thing is to celebrate successes and show children what they can achieve.
Write a list of fears
You can often overcome fear by talking about it. Ask your child to list the things that they are afraid to do. For example, ‘I am afraid to make new friends because….’. Next, ask your child to think about and write down or draw how they could overcome the fear.
The positive message game
This self-esteem activity for kids is designed to be played with groups of friends, but can also be enjoyed as a family. Write the names of all players on separate pieces of paper, fold them up, and place them in a bowl. Each player should take it in turns to pick out a name from the bowl and write a positive quality about that person on the piece of paper. The paper should then be folded back up and put back in the bowl. Once everybody has had a turn, give the pieces of paper to their owners and the positive messages should be read out to the group.
Give your child an important task to complete
An effective way to give your child a quick self-esteem boost is by giving them responsibility for a daily task such as unpacking the shopping or helping to cook dinner. Once your child has completed the activity, praise their achievement. If they make a mistake, show them how to correct them rather than make a big deal of it.
Set a problem-solving task
Problem-solving challenges make great self-esteem activities for kids. Building with construction toys such as building blocks or Lego and puzzles will give children a genuine sense of achievement and pride once they have completed them.
Turn negative self-talk into positive thoughts
On a sheet of paper make two columns, one for negative self-talk and one for positive self-talk. Ask your child to list the negative thoughts that they have about themselves. On the other column, encourage your child to turn the negative comments into positive ones. Assist children by giving examples of how to turn negatives into positives. The purpose of this self-esteem activity is to build a child’s self-worth.
In addition to self-esteem activities for kids, there are lots of simple actions parents can take to improve their children’s self-esteem. Encouraging a child to try new things, showing them lots of love, setting a good example of having a positive attitude, and demonstrating how to learn from mistakes are all excellent ways to make a child feel good about himself.
What self-esteem activities for kids have you tried? Share your experiences in the comments below.