It’s normal to experience instances of uncertainty and self-doubt. It’s part of being human. Which is why in those moments when we might begin to question everything about ourselves, it’s so important to call on our self-confidence to help us not only persevere but thrive in spite of the challenges that come our way. But how do we do that? Through building our self-esteem.
As a parent, you have the opportunity to help guide and shape your child’s self-esteem by encouraging them to tackle new activities and help them conquer their fears, as well as showing them that it’s okay to make mistakes. It’s essential that kids understand that we often learn the most through our mistakes and obstacles because they force us to recognize we have quirks and insufficiencies. Again, that is all totally normal and human. Self-esteem helps us to choose to like ourselves and try again anyway.
Looking for self-esteem activities for the kids and teens in your life to help build their confidence? Here are some easy activities you can try at home.
Keep a Self-Compliment Journal
Have your kids keep a self-compliment journal where they must write three things they like about themselves everyday first thing in the morning, and then later at night. It might be as simple as liking the color of their eyes or how they make their best friend laugh. The goal is to only seek the positive. Even if they had a bad day or acted like grumpy pants all day, encourage them to seek out the good side of who they are and how they behaved and what they learned from it. This exercise helps promote self-love and self-acceptance, which are great building blocks for self-esteem.
This can be done as an art project that also doubles as an exercise is positivity and self-worth. Positive affirmations are a powerful tool in creating confidence as well as helping you see just how capable you are. Affirmations typically are written in the present and in the first person, such as, “I am” and only reflect the positive. Meaning you won’t use “I am not” but only “I am.” Affirmations are also short and sweet, and can reflect attributes about yourself as well as positive goals that you’d like to achieve. Examples of affirmations include everything from “I am smart and likable” to “I have supportive friends who care about me” to “I confidently give a great oral presentation in history class.” Have your kids write down five to ten examples and let them stick the affirmations to where they are able to see them everyday, like on the bathroom mirror or at their desk or bedside table.
Making and Packing their Lunch
Instilling confidence in your children means helping them practice independence and self-reliance. Have them begin to pack their own backpack, including making their own lunch, or helping you prepare it. Making a lunch on their own by following a recipe or by example without any parental assistance can help them see any mistakes as learning opportunities. It also teaches them how to be resourceful, which will only further build their confidence. Packing their own backpack further instills self-responsibility and accountability. Of course you might check what they did — or didn’t — pack. But instead of saying, “You forgot your gym shoes,” ask them, “Did you pack everything you need for today?”
Give Them a Chore to Do
Chores are a great way to give your kid a sense of responsibility and pride. Either suggest a chore they can do, or, better yet, have them choose one they would like to do. Whether it’s taking out the trash every week, walking the dog after school, or cleaning out the dishwasher every other day. Don’t forget to compliment and thank them whenever they complete their chore, so they’re aware they’re doing a good job and that their work is being appreciated.
Create a Goal They Can Achieve
Creating goals that are easily achievable gives kids a sense of purpose as well as helps prove to them that when they set a goal, they can reach the finish line. So often when we don’t achieve our goals, we’re left undeterred and feel bad about ourselves. Setting realistic goals helps us to feel good about ourselves and helps us to believe in our capabilities. Realistic goals for your kids can range from reading a new book every month for three months to signing up for a local walk or run to completing a difficult puzzle.