Creative Child

Simple Ways to Build Self Esteem

by Sarah Lyons

Kids who feel good about themselves or have high self-esteem tend to be successful in a wide variety of areas from school to relationships. On the other hand, kids who have lower self-esteem may not be as willing to try new things, may not stand up for themselves in difficult situations, or may get their feelings hurt easily. What are some simple ways to build your child’s self-esteem and confidence?

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            Find their niche

            We all have different interests and talents that bring us joy. If you can find the activity that most excites your child and encourage them to pursue it, you are providing opportunities that can build up their confidence and self-esteem. When looking at which activities to try, think about what activities your child seems to like doing. If your child enjoys drawing, enroll them in art classes or make art supplies available in your home. If they enjoy sports, dance, or martial arts, find a place where they can work at improving their skills. It is fun to do things we are good at and it helps give our confidence a boost as well.

            Let them make mistakes

            While this may seem counterintuitive, allowing your child to make mistakes, problem solve, and even fail can help them build their confidence. Working through their blunders teaches kids they can handle problems that may arise and it takes away the fear of failure.

            Make their own choices

            One of the easiest ways to build self-esteem is to allow your child to make their own choices. Allow them to choose the clothing they will wear, order their own food at a restaurant, and decide when they will complete their schoolwork. As they grow older this will become harder as the decisions will be more important and have larger stakes but this will only prepare them for the future and give them confidence that they can make good decisions on their own.

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            Let them know you love them, no matter what

            Everyone needs to know they have someone in their corner rooting for them through anything. Let your child know you love them, no matter what. Showing empathy and understanding as your child works through missteps that they make shows them that you support them even when they make a mistake.. Show your child you love them, not just because of how they look or what they do, but for who they are.

            Praise when deserved

            Building your child’s self-esteem is more than just telling them how wonderful they are. If they do something great, let them know, however constant praise loses its meaning if it is repeated too often. Dianne Grande, PhD and author of In it Together, suggests praising kids for their attributes rather than what they do. “This act has a very positive impact on self-esteem particularly when the praise is about general attributes, rather than specific accomplishments.” Grande suggests saying “I love your creativity.” or “You are so responsible” because it reinforces that we are whole and valued.

            Confidence is built over time and we can show our children each day that we trust them, love them, and believe in them. This will build their self-esteem now and prepare them for future success.


Sarah Lyons is a stay at home wife and mother of six children, including 18 month old triplets. Using creative consequences with her kids has improved their behavior and encourages healthy relationships with each other.

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