Building Children’s Self Esteem

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Self Esteem begins to develop at a very early age. By getting children off to the best possible start, we give them a gift that they can carry with them for the rest of their life! Share yourself with your children. Bring your talents, skills and hobbies into their lives, program, and classroom.

Our goal isn’t to mold cookie-cutter children, but to nourish each child’s individual spirit! To help them stay in touch with their feelings, explore ways of dealing with outside influences and to increase their sense of trust and kindness…

Some ways are by presenting:

  • Skill Building Sports
  • Gym/Yoga/Exercise
  • Cooking/Snack preparation
  • Outdoors
  • Knitting/Sewing/Crocheting
  • Woodworking
  • Science/Nature
  • Party Planning (involving youth in any planning)
  • Caring for Animals
  • Community Service & Random Acts of Kindness
  • Creative Arts/Crafts
  • Foreign Languages/Sign language
  • Drama
  • Interest Clubs/Classes
  • Dancing/Singing
  • Music
  • Youth helping with younger children

Helping children develop a positive self image is an important task we face as caregivers, parents, and teachers. Fortunately, there are many things we can do. Some of them are:

1.  Model appropriate behavior; children model after people they respect. Let them know that you feel good about yourself. Also let them know that you make  mistakes and learn from them.

2. Give children time with their friends; peer groups are very important.

3. Don’t give into “learned helplessness”. When children say they can’t do something, show them how in stages so they can. You can also say, ‘If you could,  how would you start it?”  Don’t do it for them. When a child says, “I can’t do that. End their sentence with the words, “Not yet!”

4. Clearly define limits, rules and boundaries; be consistent.

5. Don’t make children feel attacked or defensive when there are challenges; work with them to find solutions or alternative behaviors.

6. Help children discover how THEY feel about their accomplishements, NOT how OTHER people feel. Example:” Mrs. Green, (or Mom) I got an A on my test!” “Great I saw how hard you were studying this morning.”

7. Make children feel lovable and competent.


  • Look  children in the eyes when you talk to them.
  • Go down to their level when you talk to them.
  • Use their ideas.
  • Don’t change or improve their projects.
  • Put up all work– good or bad.
  • Allow them their creativity; leave the “blue grass and raggedy edges” alone!
  • Notice the positive in them; give them individual attention.
  • Use their name; greet them daily.
  • Present activities within their skill range.
  • Give them responsibility and jobs.
  • Have reasonable expectations.
  • Give sincere praise and recognition. Instead of saying, “Oh, that’s beautiful!” Be specific and say,”Oh, look at the reds and greens!”
  • Help the rejected child learn ways to make friends.
  • Know the general development of children’s varied “ages and stages”.
  • Listen to them!!!



When working (or being a parent) with  children and youth, it’s not uncommon to praise them for a job well done. However, according to Becky A. Bailey, author of “Conscious Discipline,” how you praise them can make the difference between encouraging and discouraging behavior.

Bailey explains that general praise, such as saying someone is “always helpful,” can burden a child, by making him or her feel pressured to live up to a set standard. If the praise “relies on value judgments too often, you teach children that ‘good’ equals ‘pleasing others’ and ‘bad’ equals ‘displeasing others.’ ”

To give praise effectively, Bailey recommends STATING SPECIFICS of what is praiseworthy. For example, instead of saying “Nice job” after a child puts away his toys, say, “You cleaned your play area very nicely.”

Bailey emphasizes that some phrases – or tags – that describe values can’t be used enough, such as telling a child that he or she was helpful, thoughtful or kind.

Something to think about…Do you know that …

  • At grade 1…
    80% of children have high self esteem.
  • At grade 5…
    20% of children Have high self-esteem.
  • At grade 12…
    5% of youth…Have high self-esteem.
  • As success goes up…
    Self-esteem goes up!


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