10 Ways to Boost Your Child's Self-Esteem

Self esteem reflects an individual’s overall subjective emotional evaluation of his or her own worth. It encompasses beliefs about oneself. Therefore, the importance for parents to continue to enhance a child’s self esteem is essential for them to become that all rounded person.

“A child with a healthy dose of self-esteem has the best defence against life's challenge” - Ariadne Brill 

Here are 10 ways to begin to boost your child’s self-esteem: 

1 - Take a step back

As strange as it seems praising for everything your child does will not enhance their self-esteem, instead begin to support them to become more competent in the world and tasks which you and they may do in it. Allow your child to take risks, make choices, solve problems and stick to a decision that they had made originally. 

2 - Over praising does more harm than good

A healthy self-esteem develops through feelings of love, security and developing competence. Even though parents are often showering children with love and security, developing competence comes from being good at things, which takes time and effort. Over praising, in essence, means we are lowering the bar for them, therefore the need to push themselves will stop. However, we know confidence comes from trying and failing and trying again. Telling a child they’re the best at everything will set them up for bad news in the future.

3 - Let your children take healthy risks

This may mean sitting on your hands and keeping your mouth closed. To build confidence in the world, children must learn to make choices and take responsibility for them. You will not be able to rescue your children from failure all their life.  

4 - Let children make their own choices 

When choices are made, which are age appropriate, children feel more empowered and they can see the consequences of their decisions. This can be seen in children as young as two. Making their own choices help them develop a sense of right and wrong and understand how choices can have good and bad results, therefore helping them grow and learn.

5 - Helping out around the house

When considering self-esteem children need opportunities to demonstrate their competencies, feel that they are contributing and that it is valued. Therefore, when you are at home, ask them to help with cooking, cleaning and tidying. Setting age appropriate tasks will again help to build self-esteem.

6 - Make sure goals are within their abilities

This may mean that instead of joining intermediate level dance because they dance all the time to music at home, it means getting them to join beginners and building their confidence up to grow into intermediates. As a result, instead of feeling like a failure in one class they achieve success in another.

7 - Over appropriate praise

Praise is often misunderstood but when it is specific and earned, it is valuable in being a self-esteem builder. When children are having off days, they can recall the praise, which will help them recognise that their ‘off’ day was not a true evaluation of their overall performance. Indirect praise is also beneficial and can be done through a reward or chore chart.

8 - Help your child feel special and recognise their feelings

It is important to help a child discover their own talents and qualities and to learn to value their strengths. It is not possible to be the best at everything, that's ok and this is part of what makes you special and unique. Helping a child to recognise and understand their feelings will help them feel able to explore them with others, therefore helping them to articulate themselves better.

9 - Be a good role model

When your child sees you putting effort into every day tasks, your hopes and dreams, it is setting a good example. By doing so, your child will learn to put effort into things and the end result will be rewarding. Modelling the right attitudes is also beneficial because doing things cheerfully or because you want to will teach your child to do the same.

10 - Communicate with respect 

Avoid criticism, it is too often the typical response to a mistake. Respect is something we want our children to have, therefore we need to think about how we respect them. Think about your daily responses to what they say and allow them to know  you can hear what they are saying even if you do not necessarily agree with them. 

There are many other ways to boost a child’s self esteem but trying out these simple steps will begin to build a healthier self-esteem. If we can help a child feel more confident in the early years, the benefits this will have into their adulthood will be lasting. Likewise, teaching them resilience at an early age will set them up for life.