Low self-esteem leaves children option to many social and emotional problems, such as anxiety, difficulty making friends or the inability to handle problems. Several activities give kids a chance to build self-esteem to create more positive feelings about themselves. Increasing self-esteem gives kids more security, purpose in life, responsibility and self-control. These activities work well in a group setting, such as classrooms or youth groups.
Specific writing assignments that focus on building self-esteem work well for kids in elementary through high school. One option is to use a journal and assign a different topic each day that would help build confidence. Ideas include writing about a time the child overcame a challenge, his talents, things he likes about himself, goals for the future and things in his life that make him happy. Doing these positive writing assignments periodically helps kids change their way of thinking and reminds them of the achievements in their lives.
Positive statements help kids learn to talk to themselves in a constructive way. Like adults, children sometimes get caught up in negative talk. A child might say she can’t do something, she always messes up or a task is too difficult. Whether the child says the negative statements aloud or in her head, they eat away at her self-esteem. Brainstorm positive statements the kids can say to themselves instead of the negative self-talk. Writing those statements on sticky notes and placing them in spots where the kids see them frequently serves as a reminder to stay positive.
Art gives kids a chance to express themselves, which can help boost self-esteem. Unlike other school subjects, art is open to interpretation without the pressure of the outcome being right or wrong. A poster is a simple art project that works for a variety of age groups. Encourage the kids to create a poster about themselves, focusing on the positive aspects. Another option is to use the positive statements the kids brainstormed to create self-esteem posters to display for others.
Participation in a club or organization gives kids a sense of belonging that can help improve self-esteem. Kids often get a chance to excel within a particular group, whether the organization focuses on sports, religion, music, acting or another hobby. The available clubs depend on the local area and the age of the child. Examples include Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, 4-H, sports teams or choir. Encourage kids to get involved in groups that interest them without making them feel pressured into doing something they don’t want to do.