You might be surprised that some of the things we do to build confidence in our kids actually hurt's their self-esteem. Find out more. 

5 Surprising Things That Hurt Kid’s Self-Esteem

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So many children suffer from low self-esteem. This often leads to mental health issues later in life. There are so many easy ways to help build our children’s self-esteem at an early age to help them build that confidence and teach them to truly love themselves. Here are some simple self-esteem activities to start with your child today.

Hurt Kid’s Self-Esteem

Why is Self-Esteem Important for Kids?

A child’s self-esteem is their overall sense of worth and, ultimately, their opinion of themselves. If your child’s self-esteem is low, they won’t feel successful and may not try much at all. They can also be more lonely, sad, and afraid of the future. 

It is crucial to help build your child’s self-esteem at a young age so they can be happy, successful, and kind, now and for their entire lives.

You might be surprised that some of the things we do to build confidence in our kids actually hurt’s their self-esteem. Find out more. 

When my daughter was young, I planned to be the perfect mother. I always wanted her to feel secure and happy. What I didn’t know is that a lot of what I did that I thought would help, actually hurts kids’ self-esteem. 

I thought if I did everything for her, I was being a great mom who cared. What I didn’t know is that many of the things I thought she needed undermined her self-esteem. If I knew then what I know now, I would do a lot of things differently.

There are many things that can cause low self-esteem, but the ones that might surprise you are subtler.  

Hurt Self-Esteem

Let them try. Let them learn to take off their own shoes and put them on. When they want to be independent, don’t try to stifle it because you’re in a hurry or because it’s easier to do it yourself. Of course, you can do it faster, but when they struggle and try, there is so much more that happens than just accomplishing that task so you can go somewhere.

confident kid sitting on swing on the playground, building self-esteem

They are learning they are capable. And they are learning they can handle things on their own. They are learning they have power. Nurture that and encourage it to grow. It’s a great confidence builder.

If kids think you are the only one who can make good decisions, they will always have to depend on you for help. When they learn to think for themselves, they can practice making decisions when you are still around to help if they make the wrong ones.

If you control everything they do, they will not be able to have success on their own. Your kids can’t stay with you forever.

Let them fail! The number one confidence builder you can give your kids is letting them make mistakes. If they want to do something and you don’t let them try, even though you know it won’t work, they will have no idea what it feels like to fail. This could be dangerous.

You will not be able to fix everything for your kids. Don’t try to make their life perfect as they grow because grown-up life is FAR from perfect. We have setbacks every day and plenty of disappointments and learning opportunities. Let your kids learn when they are young how to handle them.

Let them earn genuine praise for a job well done but don’t tell them good job for the tiniest thing. Let them know they are doing well, but wait until they do something that took some doing to praise them because praise can become mundane and lose its meaning and become insincere.

Kids need to learn that their boss won’t stand next to them and go “GOOD JOB” for every form they fill out or project they finish. Don’t set them up to thrive only on other people’s praise. Teach them that a job well done is one that makes them feel proud.

Kid Self-Esteem

If you need to give constructive criticism, do it sparingly and with statements that build them up to balance it out.

Leave the small things unsaid. Choose your battles on what really needs to be brought up. Perfectionism is ugly and it hurts everyone around it. Don’t expect perfection from your kids. Don’t expect it from yourself in front of them.

Everyone makes mistakes. Bring up the things that really matter to the child’s future and let the rest go.

Don’t sweat the petty stuff parents, many things in life take care of themselves.

Kids cooking together at the table learning skills to build self-esteem

Doing too much and being too involved with kids’ every move can really devastate their confidence and their chances for success. Keep an eye on them and be there when they need a soft place to fall, but don’t smother your kids.

Believe me, I know this from experience. I thought I was being a good mom at the time, but that is one thing I totally screwed up.

Self-esteem activities for kids

Self-esteem-building activities could be things such as solving puzzles, open-ended art that doesn’t have a product that is expected, running and climbing, learning new skills, all about me activities, sharing what you’re afraid of, and changing the way they talk to themselves.

How to Build Confidence in Kids

There are so many ways we can build confidence and self-esteem in our children as parents. Be sure to always show your children your entire unconditional love for them. Praise them for their efforts rather than just their successes.

One of the best ways you can help build your child’s self-esteem is through your example. That means accepting all compliments that come your way, even if you don’t always believe them. Do not compare yourself or your children with others.

These may seem simple, but they will have a profound effect on your child’s life. Plus, your self-esteem will grow too!

11 Best Self-Esteem Activities to Start with Your Child

Here are some easy self-esteem activities to start with your children today. It is never too early to start!

1.   Positive Affirmations

Positive affirmations are probably one of the easiest activities you can do with your children but will also have the biggest impact. Saying positive mantras throughout the day about yourself helps you to get rid of negative thought patterns and build strong self-worth.

Make your own with your children! This can easily be turned into a fun art activity. Hang them up around their bedroom when you are finished and repeat them first thing in the morning and before they go to bed.

2.   Mindfulness

Teaching your child how to be mindful will help them during stressful times in their lives. Then, instead of simply giving up or thinking because something is hard, they cannot do it; they will be able to work through their stress and continue to be successful.

Enjoy some yoga or a 5-minute guided meditation every morning to help set their mood for the day.

3.   Journaling

Journaling is so beneficial and can be used all throughout your life. Have your child pick out their favorite journal from the store and make it a habit to write down their thoughts before going to bed.

You can create a gratitude journal or a simple journal about their feelings. This will help them unload all their thoughts and struggles in a safe place.

You can also try creating a self-esteem journal where they write positive things about themselves or accomplishments they did during the day. Then, when they are struggling, they can turn back to this journal and see their self-worth.

4.   What I Love About You

This can be a fun family activity to do every now and again. Write each child’s name on a blank paper. Then, circle the paper around the room, and each person writes one or two things they love about the person on the paper.

Sometimes children need to see their worth through other people’s eyes. When they see how much everyone around them loves them, their self-esteem will grow too.

Self-Esteem Activities for Kids

5.   Create Something

Being creative helps boost our self-esteem as we see the end result. Knowing that we successfully created something out of nothing always makes someone proud. So go out and create something with your child!

If art and crafts is a struggling habit for your child, get an easy-to-make craft kit and start from there. That way, they won’t be disappointed and will still enjoy the process. No matter how simple or little the project is, it will help their self-esteem.

6.   Date With You

Make it a habit to go on a date with your children regularly. Go someplace they will like and just enjoy that time spent together. Seeing how much you mean and matter to someone always helps us love ourselves more.

7.   Random Acts of Kindness

When you are kind to others, you always feel better about yourself in return. Try to do random acts of kindness for people. You can make it a monthly challenge where you see how many acts you can do in a month.

When you are constantly kind, people will notice and respect you more. Then, in turn, people will be more kind to you. Kindness is always an easy way to build self-worth and self-love.

8.   5 Things I Love About Myself

Going along with positive affirmations, try to instill a habit of talking kindly about yourself. There are so many great ways to do this. Mirror talk is where you repeat affirmations in front of a mirror. This way, you clearly tell yourself how much you love and value yourself.

You can also begin a “5 things I love about myself” habit. Before going to bed, you and your child each say 5 things you love about yourselves. This will help you lead by example.

9.   Failure at Dinner Table

Failure is a part of life, and we need to teach that to our children. Every night when you are eating dinner, go around the table and each name a failure from that day. This will help make failure a normal part of living. Then when failures come, it is not so damaging to your child but rather helps them move forward.

10. Exercise

A big part of self-esteem for anyone is their perception of their bodies. While it may not seem like it, exercise does much more for a child’s perception of themselves rather than just their weight.

When you exercise, your body releases hormones and neurotransmitters, which help boost your happiness and confidence. It also will naturally release your stress and tension during hard times.

Exercise often with your child. This way, they will feel better about themselves and help them know that they are healthy no matter what their body looks like.

11.  Goal Setting

Teach your child to set clear goals that they can attain. Children reach past the stars, which is great, but it often means they don’t reach their goals until later in life. Have a goal-setting day to make goals your child can achieve in a week.

Then, have a celebration when your child achieves their goal and sets a new one! They will start to see that they can truly achieve anything they put their minds to. As soon as they see their accomplishments and feel that sense of pride, their self-esteem will increase.

Having good self-esteem takes a lot of work. Start wherever you are today and consistently work on building your child’s self-esteem. Make sure to include them in this process, so they will naturally always build and grow their self-esteem throughout their lives. Use any of these self-esteem activities and watch your child’s happiness and self-worth grow!

Self-confidence quotes for kids

Remember that the way you talk to yourself is how your child will talk to themselves. Do you have a habit of putting yourself down? I know I do. But when I do that, the kids learn to do it too. So you can say, that was dumb of me to do that but…I forgive myself because no one is perfect. Or I wish I didn’t spill that but…I can clean it up and it will be fine. 

This technique teaches kids that it’s okay to make mistakes and since everyone makes them, that’s a great way to build self-esteem for a lifetime. 

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  1. Watching there eyes light up when they do something and master something is so worth the frustration of want to just do it!

  2. Great post. I am reading up on parenting right now. I am going to allow my 3 year old to send me to the loony bin!