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Inside: Hey parents and teachers, it’s true, not all kids are born brimming with bottomless confidence and rock-solid self-esteem. We don’t always know how to raise confident kids, but it’s a worth it goal. That’s why inside, we’ve got 20 amazing self-esteem activities for kids and tons of information on how to build confidence in kids.
I bet it breaks your heart to see your child lock themselves in their rooms with shoulders sagging in defeat and sadness in their eyes.
They desperately want to fit in or try something new, but the problem is they just don’t believe in themselves. (YET!)
As soon as your sweet child opens their beautiful eyes, they start seeing the world from their very own unique perspective.
Even before they utter their first adorable babbles, they realize that playing makes them happy; crying gets them cuddles.
We know that kids are learning new things constantly, but they also need the confidence to use all these valuable new skills.
And that’s where self-esteem for kids comes in.
We want to get our kids out of the bedroom, help them overcome their fear of failure, and teach them to trust their capabilities while believing that they can do anything.
Are you ready for 20 self-esteem activities for kids that will teach your kids self-esteem and help them build oodles of confidence?
Let’s get to it.
What is Self-Esteem?
Simply put, self-esteem is when people feel good about themselves.
Very Well Mind States, “In psychology, the term self-esteem is used to describe a person’s overall subjective sense of personal worth or value. In other words, self-esteem may be defined as how much you appreciate and like yourself regardless of the circumstances.”
Why Self Esteem is Important for Kids
“I can’t do these math problems. I’m dumb.” “I’ll never be able to tie my shoes.” “No one likes me.”
Have you ever heard your child utter any of these types of “I can’t” phrases?
It’s heartbreaking, isn’t it?
By helping our kids develop self-esteem, we give them the:
- confidence to face challenges.
- confidence to ask for help if they need it.
- confidence to understand that mistakes help you grow.
- ability to take responsibility for their actions.
- ability to form healthy relationships.
- smarts to have respect for themselves
- realization that they have control over their lives
And we want to avoid our kids:
- feeling like they can’t succeed in school or outside of school
- feeling frustrated, angry, anxious, or defeated.
- having a hard time making and keeping friends
- being teased or bullied
- becoming withdrawn or give in to peer pressure.
- developing self-defeating ways to deal with challenges, like quitting, avoidance, silliness, and denial
We want our kids to develop healthy relationships and feel confident enough to stand up for themselves.
We want our kids to make mistakes and try new things.
We all want our kids to feel confident and capable.
We want them to nurture a growth mindset and motivate themselves to take on challenges and still be able to cope when they fail.
So, let’s change all the negative “I can’t” self-talk to “I can’t do that yet!“
And my favorite way to do this is through self-esteem-building activities and self-esteem worksheets for kids.
Factors that contribute to self-esteem issues:
We all go through difficult periods of our lives. This is unavoidable.
But for kids, these difficult periods can cut deep and have a lasting effect. I mean, I STILL remember being teased in grade 1!
And the problem is that these experiences can change the way we feel about ourselves going forward.
Unless we reset it!
Common factors that can affect a child’s self-esteem and confidence:
- Changes in the family environment (like a new baby, moving, divorce)
- Your parenting style
- Weight issues
- Academic issues
- Trouble fitting in
- Struggling at hobbies
- Special needs
- Feeling left out or different
Many of these situations are unavoidable. I get that. But what we do have control over is matching these confidence-crushing situations with equally impactful self-esteem-building opportunities.
Signs your child is suffering from low confidence or self-esteem
Checking off a few of these items may indicate your child isn’t feeling confident:
- Lacking excitement, motivation, or passion about things
- Shying away from trying new things
- Issues communicating with others
- Fear of new situations or humiliation
- Lots of frustration
- Negative self-talk or self-view
- Issues making friends
- Behavioral issues (kids can test their parents to try to feel like they are still loved).
And if you do check off a few of these boxes. Don’t worry; there are things we can do to help!
How To Build Confidence in Kids: Things Parents Can Do!
You are likely asking, “How do I build confidence in a child?”
That’s a good question.
We need to change our child’s internal story they are telling themselves.
Change the story from, “I’m no good.” To “I’m amazing.”
And there are many ways we can do this.
Below we will look at 20 self-esteem activities for kids (that are fun) and help our kids feel confident. But, we can also do things in everyday life as parents or teachers to build confidence in our kids.
- Ensure your child knows that you love them, no matter what. Kids want your approval, so ensure that when your child misbehaves, you reinforce that they aren’t a bad child; they simply made a bad decision.
- Ask for their advice or opinion on decisions. For example, This weekend, my family had a choice: go to the cottage or go to an extended family BBQ. Well, I asked my son for his opinion. He chose the family BBQ. By asking his opinion, I let him know that he is an important family member and that his opinion counts.
- Don’t compare your kids to other kids. All kids are unique and develop at different times. They all have special talents and traits. So, if your daughter has two left feet on the dance floor, don’t fret, and don’t compare her to your best friend’s mini twirling ballerina. Your daughter might be a total rock star at soccer. Stop comparing and instead, search for your child’s unique abilities.
- Give tons of hugs. There can never be enough hugs. Physical affection is a way to communicate love and acceptance. In fact, when my son is upset, instead of getting upset myself, I tell him, the hug monster is going to get you, and instead of falling down the rabbit hole of his meltdown, he smiles and starts running around the house trying to escape the hug monster.
- Praise the effort, not the outcome! This is especially important in helping kids develop a growth mindset. We want our kids to know that with effort and by trying hard, anything is possible.
How To Build Confidence in Kids: 20 Self-Esteem Activities For Kids
Below are 12 self-esteem activities to help your child develop self-trust, self-awareness, and confidence for the rest of their lives.
1. Self-Esteem Journal
Wondering how to build confidence in your child? Well, journaling gives kids a chance to learn about their thoughts and feelings (and helps them develop an attitude of gratitude).
This all leads to beautiful self-discovery.
You can use this colorful and beautifully designed self-esteem journal in our Confidence Kit here, or you can create your own template on a sheet of paper using the information below.
Design your paper with the prompts below (leave space to write answers).
Note: You can add any prompt your like. Or switch them up week over week.
- Five things that made me feel peaceful today:
- I feel most proud of myself when:
- The highlight of my day was:
- My best personality trait is:
- Five small successes I had today were:
- I enjoyed:
- My family admires me for my:
- One goal I’d like to accomplish this year:
- Three unique things about me:
- Five ways my life is incredible:
- I feel best about myself when:
- My biggest success this week was:
All these prompts will ignite positive responses, which sets these worksheets apart from everyday day-to-day journaling.
So even when your child has a bad day, encourage them to journal and find the good parts of their day. Remind your kids that no matter how hard things get, there is always something good, if you look.
I also recommend keeping a gratitude journal. Gratitude is proven to help anyone, and everyone feels more optimistic about their lives and themselves. You could snag this gratitude bundle here or simply have your child write two things they are thankful for each day. Reread the journal now and then. Gratitude is proven to increase optimism, confidence, and happiness.
2. Let Kids Pack for a Trip
While just the thought of packing might make your nose curl up, young kids love this confidence-boosting challenge.
Packing can be one of the best self-esteem activities for kids as it promotes independence and confidence.
Ask your child to pack their suitcase for your next vacation or overnight stay.
Remind them of all the things they will need, which will prompt them to pack those necessary items.
(Oh, and don’t forget to sneak a peek at their suitcase before you go). These are, well, kids after all, hello attention span and logical thought).
If I find missing items, I’ll prompt my kids to pack these items by saying, “So, you’re all set for swimming at the hotel pool, right?” Instead of, “You forgot your swimsuit.”
3. The What I Love About You Letter (On the A+ list of self-esteem activities for kids)
Prepare a chart with your child’s name in the middle.
Have each member of the family write at least two things they love about the child. It can be anything from they are kind or funny to they are a good friend to they always try hard.
Since we want to dig deep with this exercise, try to stay away from complimenting physical attributes (like you have the most beautiful eyes) for this exercise.
Hang this chart in your child’s room so that anytime they feel down, they can look at this list and feel wrapped in a warm embrace, knowing they have people who support and love them.
Yay self esteem activities for kids!
A variation is during dinner, ask everyone at the table to say one nice thing about each other.
I also love family conversation starters, which are incredible for boosting confidence and connecting the entire family. These printable cards are a fun mix of age-appropriate questions ranging from silly to thought-provoking and provide an effortless solution to get your family talking (And connecting). Perfect for family dinner time conversation, family game night, or whenever you want to engage with your kids!
4. The Invitation to CREATE
The CREATE activity is simple but can be a colossal creativity booster for your kids.
Gather some recyclable materials and put them on a tray or table. Then invite your child to examine the items, and the super CREATE challenge is to create something artistic out of all the things.
Remind your kids they can create anything they want!
And just watch their little minds go.
There is no wrong creation here, and this empowers kids and is a major self-esteem booster! (And it is fun.)
I also love to put the big bin of random lego in front of my child and say, go! Create something, anything!
5. Practice Yoga
It turns out and yoga isn’t just for adults.
Yoga and mindfulness offer SO many amazing benefits for adults as well as kids.
A daily yoga practice improves focus, self-esteem, memory, academic performance, classroom behavior and even helps reduce anxiety and stress in children.
Yoga also teaches discipline and reduces impulsivity in kids.
Clear your mind.
I love Cosmic Yoga for kids.
So go on and help strengthen your kids growing bodies while improving their flexibility and confidence.
6. Invent a Recipe
Pretend you are a master chef and create a gourmet pancake recipe or a unique ice cream sundae with all the fixing’s.
I love the pancake or ice cream recipe challenge because you can add pretty much anything you like.
Beforehand, invent the recipe, use our recipe template, or print out or write down the ingredients and instructions on a sheet of paper.
Now, it’s time to create!
Allow your child to make their own pancakes or sundaes (BUT: ensure you are supervising anytime the stove is involved)
So even when they try to add pickles to the pancakes or raisins to the sundae, let them. This is their gourmet recipe.
You can always later discuss what you could have done differently to make them tastier.
Creating a recipe taps into your child’s creativity, but it also helps them learn from their mistakes. (After all, they might not enjoy their pickle pancakes as much as they thought they would).
7. Daily Chores or Small Tasks
Did you know a child’s self-esteem will skyrocket if they feel like someone trusts them?
So, trust in your child to do daily chores or help you with small tasks.
We have many helpful resources on developing a family chore system (and an excellent free chore chart).
- Check out this giant list of age-appropriate chores for kids
- How to Create A Chore chart The Kids Will Love
I ask for my child’s help ALL.THE.TIME.
If I’m cooking, I’ll ask him to sprinkle the cheese on our dish. If I’m sweeping, I’ll ask him to hold the dustpan. There are endless opportunities to engage your child in daily tasks.
Remember: When your child completes a task, compliment them. Keep it short and straightforward. And remember always to praise the effort, not the result.
And when they dump the entire mop of water all over the floor, don’t shame them; help them learn from their mistakes.
Positive reinforcement is always the way to go!
8. One on One Time
One-on-one time is so important.
Sometimes, we get caught in the trap of thinking the quantity of time is more important than quality of time.
I suggest this:
Find a calm, quiet, relaxing location. A park, a forest walk, the backyard.
Now, here’s what I suggest you do.
Spend some time talking about your own life.
Yes, your life!
Talk about any minor problems you are facing. When your child hears you talk about your life and understands that everyone encounters challenges, they will be more likely to open up about what’s bothering them.
For example, You could share how one of your co-workers is giving you a hard time. You could discuss together things you could do to solve this problem.
Sometimes, we don’t know the turmoil our kids are in, and they can often be very afraid or unwilling to share.
Try this activity if your kid is seemingly going through such a phase. Feeling supported and talking will help your child develop coping strategies and self-esteem.
9. Make Slime
Slime is a real “wow” for kids.
Give your kids the chance to impress their friends and have some fun by learning how to make their own slime.
Here is a fantastic recipe for slime: Fluffy Slime Recipe
Help your kiddo follow the directions. Once your child has made the slime successfully, ask them to explain the complete process to you.
And remember to praise their effort and slime-making processes.
Perhaps invite some friends over, and your kiddo can demonstrate their master slime-making skills.
Kids build self-assuredness and grow confidence by demonstrating a newly learned skill when interacting with others.
10. Goal Plan
Setting SMART goals is a wonderful way to build confidence in your child.
Have your child sit down and set goals to prepare for any upcoming event, challenge or situation.
Ensure you create a plan of action. For example, if your child wants to learn their mathematical tables, you could set a goal like this:
I want to learn my mathematical tables by the end of the month. I will practice every weeknight for 10 minutes.
Notice how you set a specific goal, set timelines, and disclosed important steps you will take to achieve this goal.
This is a SMART goal! And setting SMART goals is a fantastic way to help your child actually achieve their goals (which in turn will build your child’s confidence).
Celebrate when they complete their goal. Then create another one.
11. Acts of Kindness
Trust me, do this acts of kindness challenge.
Snag this acts of kindness calendar as part of our self-esteem kit and challenge your child to complete one act of kindness per day.
We naturally feel good about ourselves when doing good for others.
And what the world (and your community) needs right now is this.
12. Make a Bucket List
This is a super fun self-esteem-building exercise.
Ask your kid to make a bucket list and have them list all the exciting things they want to accomplish, experience, or do in the next few years.
Make a list for yourself, too. Hang your lists where you can see them.
Looking at the list every morning will help your dreams become reality.
We’ve got an entire post on fun Summer Bucket List ideas right here (and it comes with a free printable).
13) Mirror Mirror What do You See
Body shaming and poor self-image are real struggles facing our kids.
Heck, they are real struggles facing adults as well.
Let’s teach our kids to love their bodies regardless of their appearance.
Ask your child to stand in front of the mirror. Ask them to take 20 seconds to just look at themselves. Then, ask them to name three things they see that they like.
You can also name three things you see about them that you love.
This exercise will help your kids to appreciate themselves and all that makes them beautiful. Complete this exercise often so that they are constantly reminded of all their beautiful qualities.
14) Big Wins
Make a chart and divide it into two sections, ages 4 – 6, then ages 7 to 10. Brainstorm together and list all of the super extraordinary accomplishments your child has made.
Bonus points if you make another column of accomplishments they want to achieve (and maybe your child isn’t even in the 7 to 10 category yet), so you could also make this column list future goals.
This activity helps kids see how much they have succeeded and that there is so much more in store.
15) The Word of the Day (Unique self-esteem activities for kids)
I love creating a positive word of the day. Each morning, write one word on a whiteboard or use this fun reusable template from our Confidence Kit for Kids.
The possibilities are endless. Throughout the day, remind your child of the word and incorporate the word into your day in fun and creative ways.
This helps keep the dark, negative thought clouds out and the bright, cheerful ones in.
Variation: You could create an affirmation of the week. Challenge your child to come up with their own (depending on their age) or write an affirmation, motivational quote, or other on your blank template or whiteboard.
16) Confidence Mapping
Use this template (or create your own)
Write in the center:
Why I’m a rockstar, then draw arrows or arms from the center and have your child write different reasons why they are incredible.
These ideas will start bouncing and expanding off each other. This exercise helps kids realize that they are pretty incredible, even if they didn’t realize it sooner.
17) Flip your Thoughts
This exercise will help your child flip their negative thoughts into positive thoughts.
Have them write down a nagging negative thought they keep having, then have them positively rewrite the thought. You can also discuss why they feel they keep having these negative thoughts and how the negative thought is making them feel. (Sad, useless, incapable)
You can see some examples in our self-esteem kit.
You can also ask your child to examine past mistakes or failures and write what they have learned.
After they have rewritten their sentence, you can tell how they feel with the new positive thought.
18) Ask Open-Ended Questions
This helps kids to dream big and share what’s on their minds. Kids can start to see their lives as happy and full of possibilities.
Examples of open-ended questions:
- Where do I see myself in five years?
- What makes me scared?
- What am I most looking forward to about the future?
- I love when?
19) Positive Affirmation Challenge
What kid doesn’t love a friendly competition?
Okay, some end up not so friendly. I feel ya.
I love the affirmation challenge because it’s a super inspirational activity that bonds the family.
Ask each member of the family (including you!) to research and come up with their own positive affirmation or positive quote.
Write it down.
Then, everyone in the family regroups with their quote or affirmation. A discussion can then ensue about the meaning of the affirmation or quote, why your child chose it.
20 Exercise and Explore Hobbies
Exercise is one of the best ways to increase self-esteem (in anyone).
First off, it releases feel-good chemicals, and secondly, it makes our bodies feel healthy and confident.
You can also encourage your child to explore new hobbies.
They might feel down on themselves because they aren’t great at baseball. Well, maybe they just need to find their thing. Is it drawing, martial arts, music, dance? The possibilities are endless, and sometimes, we just need to help our little ones find their passions.
Final Thoughts on Self-Esteem Activities for Kids
Raising our youth to believe in themselves can be a difficult task. But it’s possible, and it’s such a glorious goal.
If you’ve ever asked the tough question: “How do I build confidence in a child?” I hope you found a few answers here.
These 20 self-esteem activities can help your kiddos believe in themselves, stand up for themselves, and change the internal story they tell themselves.
Don’t forget to snag your Confidence Kit for Kids right here!
I’d love to hear your favorite self-esteem activity below.