4 Self Esteem Activities for Kids to Build Your Kid’s Self-Esteem
1. Limit screen-time.
When Christina spends 3 to 5 hours a day soaking in social media, she often begins to feel sad that she doesn’t have what many of the people she follows have:
Megan has a new puppy. I don’t have a new puppy.
Joseph just moved to a brand new house with a pool. I don’t have a pool.
Taylor is at the lake with her friends lying in a bikini. I wish I looked that good in a bikini.
The more Christina soaks in the images others post, the more Christina believes she needs these “perceived realities” to be happy.
But social media can also portray many risky behaviors like substance abuse, sexual behaviors, self-injury or eating disorders. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) notes, “peer viewers of such content may see these behaviors as normative and desirable.”
It’s no surprise AAP suggests families limit hours of media use each day, recommending no devices in bedrooms at night, and encouraging “media-free” times together as families. . . which leads me to my next strategy. . .
2. Suggest a “media-fast.”
Last year researches conducted a study about young people and their devices and were surprised to discover almost 70% of 13-18-year-olds said they “would like to spend more time socializing face to face rather than online.”
So why not challenge them:
“Do you think we could go a day without any digital media?”
“How about a week?”
Don’t just challenge them—join them. Throw in a little bit of motivation if you must. Throw a hondo on the table and say, “A hundred bucks to the person in this family who can last the longest without entertainment media this month!”
You might be surprised with the results. Kids who break free from the grip of their smartphone always show greater rates of satisfaction. In fact, research has never been so clear:
Teens who spend more time than average on screen activities are more likely to be unhappy, and those who spend more time than average on nonscreen activities are more likely to be happy.
So don’t be scared to give your kids a nudge in that general direction. Maybe you can lead by example.
But remember that self-esteem isn’t just about what you avoid. . .
3. Remind your kids who they are.
Have you talked to your kids about their identity in Christ? Wouldn’t it be cool if kids understood not only how valuable they are to God, but who they are in Christ?
If your kids have put their faith in Jesus then they don’t have to get caught up in “self.” That’s the world’s thinking. “Self” has been “crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20, NLT)
Interesting enough, when kids spend excessive time plugged into entertainment media, they’ll hear plenty of distracting messages about who they are or where happiness comes from: popularity, good looks, instant gratification. The best way to counter these lies is to be proactive about teaching them Biblical truth. Consider Colossians 3:
2 Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. 3 For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:3-4, NLT)
One of the most effective ways I find to help kids engage in meaningful conversations about their identity is through music. Young people love music and many songs provoke feelings about ‘self’. We can use these songs to point them to God’s word. Luckily we at TheSource4Parents.com provide free music discussionscomplete with scripture and “3 questions you can ask your kids in the car.” Here’s a few good ones that springboard conversation about self esteem:
Scars to Your Beautiful, by Alessia Cara
When you open up God’s word you help your kids understand their incredible value by putting things in perspective. Like David Crowder sings:
You make everything glorious
And I am Yours
What does that make me?
(another fantastic “old school” music discussion)
When kids begin to recognize their identity in Christ, they tend to become aware of their strengths or giftedness. And if you want to see a kid really shine. . .
4. Give your kids an opportunity to use their strengths/gifts,
We live in a very interesting time right now. On one hand young people have never been so inundated with messages of “just do you” and “you just gotta do what’s best for you!” (Self-centeredness 101) At the same time young people have been raised earning hours as a volunteer and following celebrities who want to “give back.” Help homeless horses. Save sick seagulls. Serving is “in.” An interesting by-product of this culture is that kids want to make an impact (and post a picture on Insta of themselves doing it).
Give your kids opportunities to serve like Christ served. Take your family to a homeless shelter or join with your church or other families and organize a neighborhood cleanup day. Do something where your kids get an opportunity to be a light for Jesus through acts of service. When kids are given the opportunity to help others, they typically experience empathy. Highly empathetic people report greater self-esteem and a deeper sense of purpose than those who report lower levels of empathy. But more than that, serving like Christ builds your identity in Christ.
Service opportunities open another door that helps kids’ self-esteem.
In a world where anxiety, depression, and teen suicide are at an unprecedented high, it’s never been a more perfect time to build into our kid’s self-esteem.
The little device in their pocket is providing all kinds of lies about who they are. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone was telling them the truth?
What are you waiting for?
Which of these four self esteem activities for kids might you try tonight?
OR FOR MORE ON THE SUBJECT OF SOCIAL MEDIA, SCREEN TIME AND THE PRESSURE TO BE LIKED, TAKE A PEEK AT JONATHAN McKEE’S EXTREMELY HELPFUL BOOK, THE TEEN’S GUIDE TO SOCIAL MEDIA & MOBILE DEVICES
This article about self esteem activities for kids originally appeared here.