Ways to Boost Self-Esteem in Children

By: Mollie Shauger | Friday, September 27, 2019 | Youth Development

A woman gives a child a high-five. Credit: iStock

Self-esteem is important in building a child’s confidence, body image and identity. Children who are more confident are more likely to try new things, aspire to reach their potential, and feel proud of what they can do. Self-esteem also helps kids cope with mistakes.

A strong support system from family, peers and teachers is essential to a child’s emotional well-being. Here are some ways to build your child’s self-esteem on a daily basis.

Give praise. 

From taking their first steps to getting a good grade on a test, there are endless events in a child’s life that provide opportunities for praise. Showing your child that you are proud of them can help them feel proud of themselves. It’s also good to commend your child not just for their accomplishments but for their efforts, even if they don’t get the results they wanted, says the American Academy of Pediatrics

Support their talents and interests.

Your child’s hobby may not be what you would have chosen - and that’s OK. Encourage them to learn a new skill or cultivate a talent, whether it’s at school, at home or with friends, or as part of a club or sports team. It’s not only important for building their self-esteem, but also their self-identity. 

Encourage them to give back.

Teens feel good about themselves when they see what they do matters to others, according to KidsHealth.org. It could be as simple as helping out a home or doing a favor for a sibling. Also, the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges’ Togetherhood program provides opportunities for people of all ages to volunteer in their communities. 

Be a role model.

Set a good example daily by having a positive attitude or helping others. When you avoid rushing through chores and take pride in a job well done, you teach your child to do the same.

Spend time together.

Bonding with your child is one way to foster their sense of belonging and self-worth. Talk to them about their thoughts and opinions, and involve them in family decisions. Teens love to be treated like grownups and are usually flattered when they’re invited into the “adult world,” says the AAP.

Looking for more ways to help your child’s self-esteem? The YMCA offers classes and programs in art, theater, STEAM, sports, and more. For more information about the Y’s free middle school membership for students in grades 6-8, or other membership opportunities, visit your local YMCA branch or metroymcas.org. Because the Y is for all, financial assistance is available for eligible families and individuals who want to participate in Y programs.


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