3-11 years: Self esteem and confidence building

Self-esteem and confidence are important.  When children feel good about themselves, they tend to be happier, try harder and do better in school.  They also have more friends, cope with any setbacks and fewer problems as teenagers.

  • Children thrive when they feel successful and important and when they're listened to and understood.
  • In fact, talking and listening to your child is the best thing you can do
  • Children also love it when their parents or carers play with and praise them

REMEMBER, many things can knock self-esteem, so if your child becomes unhappy, find time to find out what's going on.

Positive self-esteem is

Liking yourself and being happy about who you are and what you can do, so you feel valuable and capable, not ignored or useless.


Show You Value Your Child

Enjoy their company, respect their ideas, value what they're good at, and what they like to play.  Take time to listen to any troubles.

Help Them To Feel Proud

Notice and appreciate what they're good at.  Never say they're stupid if they haven't managed something.

Appreciate & Praise Them

All children love to be noticed and appreciated.  Let them know when you've enjoyed being with them or when they've done well or tried hard.  Tell them you love them.

Have Fun As A Family

Playing a game together or special outings help children to feel you enjoy being with them and sure about where they belong.

Encourage A Range Of Activities

  • Help them try new activities at home, such as cooking or growing plants
  • Find out about & encourage them to join local clubs and activities
  • Outdoor play and sports keep children healthy and feeling good

Talk To & Spend Time With Your Child

  • Involve them in your chores
  • Walk to more places and chat as you go
  • Sit close while they eat or watch tv
  • Ask them what they think
  • Eat together often, with TV/phones off!
  • Try to spend time alone with each child

Stay Calm...

when they make mistakes.  Children are learning so much they can't get everything right first time.

Show Them You Believe They Can Manage

Help them feel trustworthy and responsible.  Ask for practical help (post a letter, make something to eat, etc) and ask them to do things for themselves (wash, clean teeth, pack schoolbag, etc)

Keep Family Life As Routine As Possible

Consistent routines and stable relationships help children to feel secure and cared for.  Talk to them about all changes.


Let them have some, but not too many, choices.  Then they will learn what they do and don't like.

Cut Down On Criticism

and shouting and punishment.  When children are always told off, they feel bad about themselves and unloved.  Use praise more!

Children's Confidence Is Easily Knocked By....

  • What's happening at school (bullying, friendships or learning problems)
  • Changes at home (new partners, family break up, new baby, death of relative)
  • Family arguments (between parents or with brother and sisters)



Is the information on this page correct? If not, please let us know.