Building Your Child’s Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is feeling good about the type of person you choose to be.  Kids with self-esteem feel proud of what they can do, see the good about themselves, believe in themselves, and accept themselves even if they make mistakes.  It can give kids the courage to try new things and not get overwhelmed if they fail. Picturing your success, listening to music or striking a power pose are just some ways to help boost your confidence.  This video on confidence provides additional tips to use to build confidence.

Positive affirmations for children (and mantras) are important tools that children can use to support themselves and build their self-esteem. They help them develop a healthy sense of self as well as a positive mindset. Put simply, positive affirmations are short, positive statements such as “I am strong” and “I am able.” Affirmations then become mantras when they are repeated over and over to oneself, out loud or silently.  Using a positive sayings or affirmations can help children turn thoughts of “no one likes me”, “I have no friends”, and “I am not good at this” into “everyone has their strengths and weaknesses”, and “I am learning how to make new friends”. 

Here’s how to come up with your own saying or affirmation:

  1. Choose a negative thought and write its positive opposite.
  2. Make your affirmation only a few words long
  3. Always start with positive words such as: I can, I am, I do, I have
  4. Write your affirmations in the present tense and add emotion to your affirmations.
  5. Say your affirmation over and over especially when you are having a lot of unhappy or negative thoughts.
  6. Say your affirmation out loud and write it down in a notebook or journal.
  7. Picture what you want- this is an affirmation.

This video is a song about affirmations for young children.

Book recommendations that encourage self-esteem:

Book recommendations that encourage positive selftalk:

Author: Jennifer Hatcher, LCSW, IMH-E, is a school-based mental health clinical supervisor for The Florida Center of Early Childhood