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Activities for Self-Esteem in Primary Children

Updated April 17, 2017

Providing children with a strong, positive foundation of self-worth and self-esteem can be crucial to helping them develop as individuals. Having positive self-esteem is part of what gives children confidence in themselves and the drive to conquer new challenges. Parents can aid in their children's development of self-esteem by trying a few simple activities.

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Create an "All About Me" Poster

Have children look through magazines or pictures to find things that make them who they are. They might look for objects that make them happy or can be attributed to them. Children should cut these items out and paste them to a piece of posterboard. The posterboard can then be hung on the wall to remind children of what they like or the ideals they represent. Repeat this activity every six months to show children how much they change in a short amount of time.

Have Confidence-Boosting Conversations

By asking children to remember their positive life events or accomplishments, parents can surround their children with optimism that might help them face new or difficult challenges and temper any disappointments that have occurred. Asking children what their favourite family memory is or what they have done that makes them feel proud of themselves and why can give children a sense of pride and attention that kids want and need. Try asking children what was the best surprise they ever had and why it was special. Knowing what makes them happy is also very important, and it might reveal a lot about which memories they cherish most, which might make it easier for parents to continue recognising the positive or more meaningful things in a child's life.

Create a Happiness List

For this activity, children will need only a pencil and paper. Have children write down five things that happened yesterday. Then examine the list to determine whether these things were positive or negative events. Discuss with children that you can let go of the bad things and emphasise the good things that happen. Try to encourage children to get in the habit of writing down five things that happened each day that they can feel good about. Every time a child begins to feel unhappy or bad about something, have them look back at their list of positive things. The list will remind them of all the good feelings they have had.

Participate in a Sport or Group Activity

A physical or group activity, whether individual or team-related, can better teach children how to play together or cooperate with one another. Of course, winning typically feels great when playing sports or games, but losing will also teach children how to cope with feelings of disappointment, especially if given proper guidance. After a loss, ask children why they think the loss occurred. Ask them what they could do differently to avoid a loss in the future. Then end on a positive note: help children recognise the positive things they did as well, even though the end result may not have been what they wanted. Emphasising that they can make a positive contribution, even in the face of a negative outcome, can help children get over a loss and refocus their energy on better things to come.

Go Places and Experience Things

Taking children different places will help them discover interests they may not even know they have. Take children to the zoo, to a new city, to see the ocean, to a museum, to flower gardens and to other different, stimulating locations. Stimulating children with a variety of experiences can provide them with an opportunity to learn about new things while also allowing them to discover skills or interests they might otherwise never recognise. Of course, doing what we enjoy and are good at typically makes us feel better, so doing these things will likely increase a child's self-esteem.

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About the Author

Now an English teacher, Allison Jensen began writing in 1999. She has been published in high school newspapers and yearbooks and is responsible for the production of the newspaper and yearbook where she teaches. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English/secondary education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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