How to Build Self-Esteem in Children During Quarantine | Children's Bureau



How to Build Self-Esteem in Children During Quarantine

A child’s self-esteem plays a large role not only in the stages of childhood development, but throughout the rest of their lives. During quarantine, the decrease in socialization with others can significantly impact how your child builds and develops their self-esteem. However,there are plenty of ways to make sure your child builds self-esteem right from your own home. Read on for the best tips when it comes to building self-esteem in children.

Avoid Overpraising

While, it is important to build your child’s self-esteem through showing approval, overdoing it can actually have adverse effects. Here’s why:

With constant praise, your child will grow up either thinking that they are perfect, or constantly be trying to reach perfection in all aspects of their life. Either way, this idea of perfection will significantly impact their self-esteem when they step into adulthood and realize perfection is not attainable.

Celebrate Effort

Instead of overpraising when things are done correctly and well, consider spending more of your focus celebrating their effort. Tell your child you are proud of them not for winning the game or getting a good grade on a test, but for how much time and effort they put towards these achievements. . 

When you switch the focus from results and personality traits to their effort and attitude, not only are you building their self-esteem in a healthy way, but you are also helping them create drive and motivation to continue their efforts.

Help Build a Positive Inner Dialogue

One of the most important ways to help your child build healthy self-esteem and confidence is to encourage a positive inner dialogue. Essentially, this means you want your child to create a mindset that encourages them rather than tells them that they cannot do something.

To do this, explain to them that when a new situation occurs, they may feel like they can’t do it or that it is going to be too hard. However, these feelings are normal and by telling yourself positive statements such as “I can do it,” “I’m smart enough,” and “It’s not hard it’s just new,” you can begin to build this positive inner dialogue.

By starting when they are young, you can help your child foster self-compassion and positive self-esteem, leaving them with a wide range of emotional support tools that they can rely on for the rest of their lives.

Let Them Make Decisions

Making decisions can be an anxiety-fueled experience for some. Yet, when you allow your child to have the freedom to problem solve, make choices, and take risks of their own, they will be able to further develop their confidence in doing so.

When a child feels that they have the freedom to make a decision and understands the power that decision making holds, they begin to expand their personal confidence and self-esteem as such.

Give Age-Appropriate Household Tasks

Another great way to help build your child’s self-esteem is to give them a few tasks that they can do to help out around the house. Depending on their age, the tasks may look a little different, but their contribution to the household will significantly increase their confidence overtime throughout child development.

Here are a few ideas for household chores by age group:

Ages 2-4

  • Put toys away
  • Put dirty clothes in hamper
  • Pick up pillows and blankets off the floor

Ages 4-6

  • Make your bed
  • Set and clear the table
  • Organize laundry

Ages 6-8

  • Put laundry away
  • Help cook dinner
  • Empty the dishwasher

Ages 8+

  • Sweep
  • Bring trash to the street
  • Put groceries away

No matter what chores you decide to task your child with, you can guarantee that they will feel a sense of accomplishment when completing them. Just remember to reward your child’s effort, not just the result of the task!

Self-Esteem and Growth

Building self-esteem in children is one of the most important and meaningful learning experiences that they will fall back on throughout their lives. When you start teaching your children about self-esteem, you are fostering healthy personal growth during their developmental stages that will allow them to succeed when they step into adolescence and adulthood. This is especially important to consider due to the fact that distance learning for kids is a new normal.

If you feel that your child needs extra support in building higher self-esteem, don’t worry. Children’s Bureau provides a variety of mental health services and counseling options targeted towards each child individually. From ages 0-21, Children’s Bureau has services for every child where self-esteem and personal growth are at the forefront of the treatment plans.

While it can be difficult taking on multiple roles during quarantine, just remember that you are not alone and the support you and your children need are only a click away.

Reviewed by:

Susan J. Wood, Former Director of Mental Health
Susan J. Wood, LMFT was the Director of Mental Health at Children’s Bureau and has over 20 years of experience working with children in a community mental health setting. She joined Children’s Bureau in 2015 as a Program Manager in the Antelope Valley and became the program director in June 2018 where she was instrumental in opening and expanding mental health services to the Santa Clarita Valley and Long Beach.


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