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Building Self-Esteem and Self-Love in Kids

Building Self-Esteem and Self-Love in Kids

Self-esteem refers to the feelings we have for ourselves, and it starts developing slowly, from when we are babies and become aware of ourselves. When we feel safe, loved and accepted as a baby, our esteem will continuously grow throughout childhood. As babies become toddlers and young children, they can start doing more on their own. Children feel self positivity when they use their newly learned skills and try new things like:

  • Achieving goals
  • Learning at school
  • Making friends 
  • Playing sports or instruments 
  • Practicing kindness

A child’s self-esteem grows when their parent is proud and acts positively towards their accomplishments. Kids with positive self-esteem feel loved, accepted and proud of themselves, which can increase their confidence. They often think good things about themselves. 

In contrast, kids with lower self-esteem often are self-critical, hard on themselves and think they aren’t good enough, which affects their confidence greatly. They focus on failures instead of successes and doubt themselves when doing activities or talking with people. 

Why Does Self-Love Matter in Kids

When kids develop self-esteem, they will feel confident and value themselves and their abilities when trying new things. Kids can begin to feel secure or proud of who they are and start developing a growth mindset for themselves at a young age. They often motivate themselves and accept new challenges that come their way and learn from the mistakes they make. After developing self-confidence, usually standing up for oneself follows and the ability to ask for help grows as the child gets more secure. 


By building self-esteem and self-love, kids can learn to work towards their goals in a way that also encourages them to appreciate their hard work and success. Kids with higher self-esteem are more likely to accept the fact that it is okay to fail and when you don’t succeed you must try again. When kids aren’t focused on their reason for failing, they can continue to work hard until their goals are completed and therefore celebrate their success, which will only aid in their self-love. Having self-love helps kids:

  • Feel respected.
  • Increase resilience.
  • Gain control of their actions.
  • Develop independence and responsibility.
  • Gain confidence in decision-making.
  • Feel secure about forming relationships with others.

Negative Effects of Low Self-Esteem

Unfortunately, there are many things in this world that can cause lower self-esteem. Even someone with high self-esteem can be knocked down and affected by the actions of others or certain hard situations, but learning to get up and stay motivated during hard times is what truly affects a child’s self-esteem. There are some negative effects that can cause low self-esteem during childhood:

  • Lack of encouragement: If a child does not get enough encouragement, they may begin to believe they do not have any real ability or talents to become successful. Children’s confidence is correlated with their self-esteem and by enforcing encouragement, their confidence can grow and positively affect their self-worth and esteem.
  • Criticism: When a child’s accomplishments aren’t recognized and they receive continued criticism, their self-worth might be negatively affected. This criticism can be from parents or guardians, teachers, or other children. Eventually, that child loses the ability to accept new challenges and achieve goals. This results in the child having inadequate confidence and resilience, which greatly affects their motivations. 
  • Unrealistic expectations: Having unrealistic expectations for your children and imposing your expectations onto them ensues failure. These unrealistic expectations are often unattainable for young children and can negatively affect their self-confidence and esteem. The feeling of not measuring up to the people you learn from and look up to can be traumatic and mentally severe.
  • Comparisons: Negative comparisons can erode a child’s self-esteem and can create a feeling of being unaccomplished. Negative comparisons consist of comparing a child’s strengths and weaknesses to another child’s accomplishments. 

While you may not be able to protect your child from every negative aspect of life, there are things you can do as a parent to avoid the negative effects of low self-esteem your child may experience.

How Can Parents Help Their Child Build Self-Confidence

To ensure your child’s future happiness and increase the chances they will have positive self-esteem, there are many things you can do to protect your child:

  • Let your children take healthy risks. These risks can be as little as holding a drinking cup when they are a young child to teaching them how to ride a bike or play sports when they get older. When teaching them, you want to first show them how to accomplish the goal but do not make it too easy or too hard for them. Accepting the challenge and overcoming failure is a key aspect of positive self-esteem. 
  • Offer appropriate praise and encouragement. Some methods of praise can backfire, so you must be realistic with your praise and advice. Overly praising children can result in the praise you give becoming empty or unauthentic. For example, you don’t want to praise failure, but you can motivate them not to give up and give them a vote of confidence to learn from their mistakes and failures. 
  • Avoid praising for results, like grades, athletic traits or monetary returns. This reinforcement can result in toxic confidence, so you want to praise them for their efforts, attitude and the progress they make. This kind of praise shows them the value of putting in the work and valuing their journey to reach their goals. 
  • Avoid being too overprotective with your child. Encouraging them to take healthy risks and make their own decisions can ultimately teach them to learn from their mistakes and become smarter decision-makers. You must be there to encourage them to stay motivated and resilient, but taking too much care of them may also leave them unable to learn from their mistakes. 
  • Make sure your child knows your love is unconditional. You can teach your child about self-love by demonstrating it yourself. No matter what your struggles are, avoid speaking poorly about yourself in front of them. Tell your child about your successes at work or any personal goals you have achieved, and let them know your love them, win or lose. 

When teaching your children, it is important to focus on their strengths rather than their weaknesses. Being aware of their weakness is important, but developing their strengths can improve their behavior and attitude towards new challenges. Letting your children help you with certain tasks, such as cooking or small home chores, can help them feel valued and increase their self-esteem. Something as simple as helping with laundry or painting a piece of furniture can help with their confidence and self-esteem.

Finally, you must remember that any failures and struggles your child goes through can be a golden opportunity to build self-esteem and self-love. It can be a great teaching opportunity to find out more about your child’s strengths, weaknesses and motivations.

Help Your Child Start Building Self-Esteem

A big part of building self-confidence in your child is having conversations about their interests and setting goals together. Having these conversations can happen during everyday life, like making your child’s bed together using our cozy room decor.

Children’s confidence and self-esteem may be a product of their environment, so it is essential to create a safe and secure place where your child can succeed and fail. Surrounding their environment with things that breed creativity and adventure will increase your child’s curiosity to learn new things. Shop our collection of everyday escapes and nesting nooks for optimal learning and play environments. 

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