Are you worried about your kid's self-esteem? Exercises to help boost their feelings of self worth can make all the difference. If your child is shy, withdrawn or feels that they are not good at anything, you can help by introducing them to activities where they can have success.
The main objective is to help your child believe that they are capable individuals, that the words ‘smart’, ‘strong’ and ‘beautiful’ can be applied to them by themselves and others.
If a child has been taught by negative reinforcement, they have always heard things like “Why did you do that? Are you stupid?” or “Can’t you do anything right? You are so clumsy!”
This sort of derogatory feedback can make children think and feel negatively about themselves and their abilities. Fortunately, you can turn this around by doing simple kids self-esteem exercises with them!
The first type of exercise is easy! Have your child name off a list of people (classmates, family, friends) and state one thing they like about the way each person looks. It can be one person’s hair, another’s eyes, etc. Last, ask them to name one thing about themselves. Older children can write this down.
Follow looks with things people say that are attractive, and move on to kind things they have done. End each step with the child returning to themselves for a positive thing to add to the list. This works well in a group session, so you can do it around the dinner table or with a class or group of playmates.
Another group activity is to have the children take turns being the ‘special child’. Have them sit in the center of the circle, and let all the other kids say one thing they like about the chosen child. All of the children get a turn, which teaches them to see the good in themselves as well as others!
A great kids self-esteem exercise involves naming off things that appeal to them. This may not seem like such a big deal, but it gives them a chance to voice their opinion, and feel that they are being taken seriously! You can also learn a lot from their answers.
Good sentences for this game include “If I were a fruit I would be a _____” or “My favorite animal is the _______because it is ________”. You can move on as they gain confidence to more personal statements, such as “Today I feel ______” or “I would like to be a ______ when I grow up because ________”.
These types of exercises help the child vocalize what they think or feel in a positive, accepting atmosphere where they are taken seriously. Nothing boosts self-esteem more than being deemed worthy of being listened to!
You can progress from verbal exercises to projects, such as planting a seed and watering it (“Look at that! You made something grow!”) or participating in a craft project (again, you can have each member of the class make a nice comment about every child’s completed work).
From there you can combine many projects with kids self-esteem activities to offer them attention and praise. This will result in greater self confidence and feelings of personal worth!
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