How to promote good self- esteem in children

Self esteem defined: what is it?

Self – esteem is linked to our perception of ourselves from an internal standpoint. Do we like ourselves? Or is the opposite true?

Children who like themselves are confident in their ability to achieve their goals, will step up and try something new, and know that they will be able to achieve the task in front of them – even if it appears difficult.

A child with good self-esteem is confident when trying out a new activity, trusts their own opinions, associates with children who are good for them, and is overall, very self-assured. This child believes in themselves.

Children with good self-esteem don’t need to ask for their parent’s approval in regard to every single decision they make. They trust themselves, and they know that they make a valuable contribution to the lives of their friends and family.

A child with a strong sense of self will forever have a secure foundation for their learning development.

Self-esteem: the basics

Self esteem is about liking yourself and who you are. Self-esteem is not about behaving in an overconfident manner. Instead, it is about believing in yourself and knowing who you are.

For children, self-esteem comes from knowing that they are loved, and that they belong to a loving family that values them. It also comes from being praised and encouraged in regard to the things that are important to them. Children with good self-esteem feel confident about the future.

Nurturing your child’s self esteem

Self is linked to a sense of security:

  • Children need to be told they are loved and cared about regularly. They need to know that their parents are interested in their lives; at school, and outside of school. Just like adults, children like to know that they are appreciated, that they have their parents approval, and that their parents trust them.
  • Parent’s do not need to give their children ‘too much praise’ for their child to feel loved and supported by them. All they need to know is that their parent’s have taken an interest in them, are proud of them, and trust them.



  • Children who have trust in the people around them are less anxious, happier, and have better self-esteem. To enhance this trust between parent and child, parents need to keep their promises, and provide their child with opportunities where they, the child can prove how trustworthy they are as well. A child needs to know that their parents believe that they are an honest, good person.


  • For a child to feel a sense of belonging, their parents really need to be encouraging of positive interpersonal relationships with members of the family, cousins and friends. This acceptance of the child by friends and family adds to the child’s value of themselves.

A sense of purpose

  • Children need to know that their parents see them as useful, capable human beings who have the ability to contribute to the family. Children feel valued and appreciated when they are given chores and responsibilities. This gives them an opportunity to prove themselves to their family.

Encourage your child to make positive contributions

Children like to help with their parent’s projects. They like to know that their contribution to your creative projects, latest gardening project, or household chores means something to you – and that you value their input.

Making decisions

Your child will feel positive about decision making, and empowered to make, or influence decisions important to them, if they are trusted by their parent’s to do so. It is important that children feel that their independence, and self-esteem is promoted by their parents.

Purpose and routine

  • Encourage your child to try out hobbies that they are interested in.
  • Ask your child to help you with small jobs such as picking up their toys, putting their shoes away, or setting the dinner table. These small things help to make your child feel as though they are a part of something, have a purpose, and that they are important.


  • Be sure to celebrate the achievements and successes of your children.
  • Talk about, acknowledge, look through, and make a big deal about your child’s awards, school work, and other achievements with them.
  • Be sure to focus on what your child is good at, and to commend them on the effort they put into their hobbies, sports, and class work.


  • Coach your child through uncomfortable, awkward social situations. Educate them on how to engage socially with other children, how to handle difficult situations, difficult children – and how to resolve conflicts.
  • Encourage your child to think about how they can best resolve a problem. When you actively show your child how to solve a problem, big or small  –  you are actually giving them the tools they will need to handle life, and the challenges that go with it, later on down the track in adult – hood.


Teach your child that mistakes, failures, and setbacks are part and parcel of life.

A sense of competence and pride

Acknowledge your child’s competency, their problem solving skills, their ability to work internally on their sense of self, and all other positive attributes your child has.

Keep watch on their self-esteem 

Keep an eye on your child. Watch for signs of bullying, developmental issues, learning struggles, and social problems. All of these things can affect your child’s self-esteem well into adult – hood if not dealt with in the early years.



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