Building Self-Esteem in Children


  1. Look for behaviors in your children that you like, even if they are small things and not particularly unusual.  Reinforce, those good traits by using them as praise to your children.
  2. Remember that you cannot encourage or praise your children too much. Attempt to share some positive words and affectionate gestures with your child on a daily basis.
  3. Sometimes a pat on the hack, a hug, or an arm across the shoulder can be an affirming gesture.
  4. Thank your children for the things they do that help you and help the family.
  5. Playing games, reading, visiting or watching and then discussing TV programs with your children are positive social reinforcement.
  6. Arrange time during each week when you can spend a few moments alone with each child.
  7. Make the little moments count.  It may be only a few minutes in which you help them tie their shoes or pack their lunches, but make them positive, uplifting, loving moments.
  8. Eat dinner together.   During this time, listen to your child and ask them to share things that have been happening with him, with his friends, in the neighborhood, or at school.  Studies have shown that families that do this, have children with higher grades and a better rapport with family & parents.
  9. Listen to his opinions and take their suggestions seriously. Ask for your child's ideas or feelings about family problems. This will encourage your child to develop a sense of commitment to the family.
  10. Encourage your children to be a responsible members of the family by offering them opportunities to take responsibility around the home. This could include doing their own wash, cleaning their room, setting the table or helping with supper.

From: Learning to Step Together. Pale Alto, CA: Stepfamily Association of America, 1982.

Annette Nay, Ph.D.

Annette Nay Homepage

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