Building Strong Roots: Practical Strategies to Boost Your Child's Self-Esteem (Part 3 of 3)


Building Strong Roots: Practical Strategies to Boost Your Child's Self-Esteem (Part 3 of 3)

In the previous blog post, we explored the warning signs of low self-esteem. (See part 1 of the blog for more information on why self-esteem matters). Now, it's time to delve into practical strategies you can use to help your child blossom into a confident and self-assured individual.

Building a Secure Attachment

As discussed earlier, secure attachment is the bedrock of healthy self-esteem. Here's how to nurture it:

  • Respond to Your Child's Needs: Be attentive to their emotional and physical needs. Respond promptly to their cries and offer comfort when they're upset. For example, cuddle your child when they're feeling scared or offer a soothing presence when they're experiencing a tantrum.
  • Active Listening: Practise active listening skills. Pay attention to their verbal and nonverbal cues, validate their feelings, and show them you understand. For example, instead of dismissing their worries, say, "It sounds like you're feeling nervous about starting a new school. Tell me more about it."
  • Positive Reinforcement: Focus on praising their effort, not just the outcome. Celebrate their progress, no matter how small. For example, instead of just saying "Good job!" for completing a homework assignment, highlight their perseverance: "Wow, you worked really hard on that maths problem. I'm proud of you for not giving up!"

Developing Self-Confidence with CBT Tools

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) offers valuable tools to help children challenge negative thought patterns and build self-confidence. Here's how to incorporate them:

  • Identifying Negative Thoughts: Help your child identify negative thoughts that might be holding them back. 
  • Catch the Thought: When you hear your child make negative statements about themselves, gently point it out. For example, if they say, "I'm rubbish at drawing," you can say, "Hold on a minute, it sounds like you're feeling frustrated with your drawing. Can you tell me more about what's making you feel that way?"

  • Challenge the Thought: Once you've identified the negative thought, help them challenge its validity. Ask questions like, "Is this thought always true?" or "Is there any evidence to support this thought?" Encourage them to reframe the thought into a more positive and realistic one. For example, you could say, "Everyone makes mistakes when they're learning something new. How about we try a different technique next time?"

  • Positive Self-Talk: Help your child develop a habit of positive self-talk. Encourage them to use affirmations like "I can do this," "I'm smart and capable," or "I'm going to give it my best shot." Role-model positive self-talk by narrating your own thought process while tackling challenges together.

Empowering Through Choice and Responsibility

Giving your child opportunities to make choices and take responsibility fosters a sense of self-belief and control. Here are some ways to implement this:

  • Offer Choices: Present your child with age-appropriate choices throughout the day. For instance, let them choose their outfit for school or what fruit they want for breakfast.
  • Age-Appropriate Responsibilities: Assign chores or responsibilities that your child can manage. This could be setting the table, watering the plants, or putting away their toys. Completing these tasks instils a sense of accomplishment and self-worth.

Celebrating Effort and the Journey

Shift the focus from just praising the outcome to celebrating the effort and progress your child makes. This helps them build resilience and perseverance. Here are some tips:

  • Process Over Product: Instead of just focusing on the final product (like a finished drawing), acknowledge the effort they put into the process. You could say, "I can see you worked really hard on all the colours in your drawing!"
  • Effort Over Achievement: Applaud their dedication and perseverance, not just the final grade or trophy. For example, instead of simply saying "Good job getting an A!," you could say, "I'm so proud of how hard you studied for that test!"

Building Self-Esteem Through Play

Play is a powerful tool for fostering self-esteem in children. Here's how to make playtime count:

  • Unstructured Play: Provide opportunities for unstructured play where your child can take the lead and explore their creativity. This could be building with blocks, playing make-believe, or simply spending time outdoors. (Read more about the power of play here).
  • Focus on Fun: The primary goal of playtime should be enjoyment. Avoid turning playtime into a competition or a pressured learning experience.
  • Engage in Play Together: Spend quality time playing with your child. This shows them you value their interests and strengthens your bond.

The Case of Emily: A Brighter Future

Remember Emily, our 9-year-old with low self-esteem? Let's revisit her story (from Part 1 and Part 2 of this blog post) and see how these strategies can make a difference:

  • Responding to Needs: When Emily feels frustrated with her artwork, instead of dismissing her feelings, you can offer empathy and guidance. "It sounds like you're feeling frustrated. Let's try a different technique, or maybe we can take a break and come back to it later."
  • Positive Reinforcement: When Emily completes a maths problem, even if it takes her a while, celebrate her effort. "Wow, you worked really hard on that problem! I'm so proud of you for not giving up." (Read more about giving effective praise here).
  • Positive Self-Talk: Encourage Emily to use positive affirmations before starting a challenging task. "I can do this! I'm going to give it my best shot."


Building self-esteem in your child is a journey, not a destination. By creating a secure and loving environment, fostering positive self-talk, celebrating effort, and providing opportunities for growth, you can help your child blossom into a confident and self-assured individual.

Bonus Material: Self-Esteem Activities for Kids

In addition to the strategies mentioned above, here are some fun and engaging activities you can do with your child to boost their self-esteem:

  • Create a "Gratitude Jar": Decorate a jar and have your child write down things they're grateful for on small pieces of paper. Encourage them to add to the jar every day or week. Revisiting these positive affirmations can be a great self-esteem boost.
  • "I Am" Collage: Cut out pictures from magazines or have your child draw images that represent things they love about themselves (e.g., kind, funny, good at sports). Glue them onto a piece of paper and create a collaborative "I Am" collage to celebrate their unique qualities.
  • Success Board: Dedicate a bulletin board to showcase your child's achievements, big or small. This could include artwork, awards, certificates, or photos of them participating in activities they enjoy.

Enrolling in "How To Create an Emotionally Safe Home" Course

Remember, fostering a healthy sense of self-esteem in your child is an ongoing process. My online course, "How To Create an Emotionally Safe Home", provides a comprehensive toolkit to help you navigate this journey.

The course delves into essential topics like:

  • Understanding Attachment Theory: Learn how secure attachment, built through responsive parenting, fosters self-esteem and emotional well-being.
  • Promoting Open Communication: Discover practical strategies to create an environment where your child feels comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings.
  • Active Listening Skills: Learn how to truly listen to your child, validate their emotions, and create a space for trust and connection.
  • Setting Boundaries with Love: Explore how to set clear boundaries while maintaining a loving and supportive environment.

By enrolling in this course, you'll gain valuable insights and practical tools to nurture your child's self-esteem and set them on the path to a happy and fulfilling life.

I hope this three-part blog series (you can reread Part 1 and Part 2 here) has equipped you with valuable knowledge and actionable strategies to help your child build strong self-esteem. Remember, you are your child's biggest cheerleader. Your love, support, and guidance will empower them to thrive!

Stay informed about new articles and topics
I’m on a mission to help share my knowledge. Subscribe to my occasional email updates.
You're in! You'll now receive my email updates.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Picture of Usha Chudasama
Ready to take action?
I'd love to chat
Call me
07792 611 406

Choose your path

Every journey is different and there is no “one size fits all” path to transformation. I want everyone to feel acknowledged and validated, so I always invest the time to understand your unique situation, to build trust and create a safe space for us to successfully work together.

Your happy child
10 Proven Steps To Raising A Happy Child
Buy now
Picture of Your Happy Child by Usha Chudasama
How to create an emotionally safe home
Create A Happy And Harmonious Home
View course