Teenage behavior is sometimes sullen and emotional.
In some cases, they hesitate to interact with other people and prefer to lock themselves in their bedrooms.
Being a teen in the current competitive world is not an easy feat.
Peer pressure, body changes, cutthroat competition, adolescence, high parental expectations, and various demands can make teenage children think that they are not fit to survive.
All teenagers undergo similar experiences, and as a parent, you’ll want to help your child to overcome challenges associated with these experiences.
This article will outline the reasons for low-esteem among teenagers, signs of low-esteem, and discuss the best 20 self-esteem activities for girls and boys you can use to improve your teen’s self-esteem.
Self-esteem is how we see ourselves and our abilities. Low self-esteem makes us doubt and belittle our abilities and convictions and causes us to think negatively about ourselves.
Factors That Influence Self-Esteem Among Kids or Teenagers
Various events occurring in the life of your teen may make them have low self-esteem. These are some of the causes:
- Interruptions to family life
- Parenting style
- Schoolwork challenges
- Weight challenges
- Bullying in school
- Lacking friends
- Inability to ‘fit’ in with others
- Emotional or social unfairness
Your teen may feel responsible in each instance and think that they are at fault.
How to Detect Low Self-Esteem in Kids / Teenagers
If your teen exhibits a few or more of the following indicators, they may be suffering from low self-esteem.
- Exhibiting emotional apathy
- A propensity to dodge new things or events
- Challenges in communicating with mates and friends
- Low degree of motivation and exuberance
- Continuous fear of humiliation and failure
- Increased extent of frustration
- Negative self-view
- Difficulties in getting new friends
If your teen is suffering low self-esteem, they may dodge circumstances with high chances of failing. In extreme situations, low self-esteem can result in long-time challenges.
Long-Term Impacts of Low Self-Esteem in Your Teen
Low self-esteem does not always lead to something disadvantageous for the teen, if you detect and handle it promptly. In certain instances, it may have long-term impacts, as well as:
- Anxiety challenges
- Problems in relationships
- Issues of body image
- Dependence on alcohol or drugs to feel worthy
Some parental and child efforts can help in preventing all these impacts.
20 Self-Esteem Activities That Improve Your Child/Teen’s Self-Esteem
In addition to your help and support, you can offer exciting activities to motivate your teen to improve their self-esteem and increase their confidence. You could try these activities.
1) Encouragement letter
Through letters of encouragement, you will be able to develop a positive bond with your child or teenager while helping them boost their self-esteem. Other family members may also be involved.
Instructions: for this activity, you can prepare a chart and ask the family members to write at least two things they like about the child/teen and two things to enhance the teen’s morale. The chart can then be hung in the teen’s room.
Why it helps: the teen will be reminded that they are not alone in their experience, and the letter will assure them that they have people they can rely on. The positive things listed on the chart will enhance the teen’s morale.
2) Appreciation of self-image and the mirror
Some children/teenagers are victims of body shaming, and your child could be one.
Teaching them to love their body no matter what can help them improve their self-esteem.
Instructions: You can ask your teen to stand in front of the mirror and name three things they see the beauty in them. Do this often to have better results.
Why it helps: Your teen will learn to accept and appreciate themselves. They will become more comfortable in who they are and later on learn to let go of body-image issues.
3) Winning certificates
Through this action, make your child appreciate all their achievements and plan for their future successes.
Instructions: To create a certificate of wins, separate the chart into four parts: The first stage in life (4-6 years), the second stage (7-10 years), recent achievements, and the achievement needed in the coming five years. Motivate your kid into filling up the parts with colors and hang the chart in their room. The chart will be a certificate of all their achievements.
Why it helps: This chart assists them in recognizing that they have succeeded in a lot of things in their lives, and they are capable of achieving more future success. This activity helps in promoting their confidence.
4) Confidence mind mapping
If you have a creative or a child /teen who loves painting, this exercise offers them creative space and assists in boosting their confidence.
Instructions: First, make sure your teen summarizes the mind map with the punchline, “Why I am great” in the center. Then ask him or her to draw several arms from the center and indicate on each arm why he/she is a good child, friend, and individual.
Why it helps: This exercise in creating a personal confidence mind map is really helpful, as noting their positive sides will allow them to see that they are truly exceptional individuals.
5) Day of positive affirmation
Maintain a day of positive statements in your home each week for your kid to have confidence and affability. This can do a great job of promoting their self-esteem.
Instructions: When this day comes, tell your teen to say and have positive thoughts concerning them. You and members of your family should restate the beneficial traits that your teen creates. For instance, if your teen feels talented at household duties, reiterate that fact and let them know they make you proud. Nevertheless, be rational; don’t give the teenager credit for something that they are not talented.
Why it helps: Your teen will recognize that they are good at several things, and other individuals appreciate their abilities.
6) Diary of positive goals
This exercise enables your teen to determine their objectives and how to succeed in them. Your teen can individually execute this exercise or do it with you.
Instructions: This exercise has two parts: ‘goal setting’ and ‘barriers and approaches.’ In the first part, tell your child/teen to note the objectives they want to succeed in the coming few days, the next month, a year or the coming five years. In the second part, tell them to note how they want to excel in their objectives and the possible challenges they may have.
Why it helps: Setting goals and creating plans and approaches to succeed in them will offer your teen a feeling of purpose. This exercise will boost their positivity and reduce their fear of associated risks.
7) The flip record of errors
This exercise will help your child or teen learn lessons from mistakes committed in the past and overcome them. It will help them to “change” their failures to achievements.
Instructions: Tell him /her to note their past mistakes or failures that have significantly impacted them. Ask them to write what they believe was the possible cause of their failure. In the next part, motivate them to develop solutions to avert the same challenges in the future.
Why it helps: This exercise assists him or her in recognizing that it is fine to fail in life, and failures can be used for more achievements. This helps them to handle any negativities arising from failing in life.
8) Worksheet for completing sentences
This exercise will make your kid/teen be at ease in sharing what’s on their minds with others, simplifying their ability to improve their self-esteem. The activity aims to assist them in examining what they feel and their emotions.
Instructions: To do this, create open-ended questions, such as, ‘I believe my future is,’ ‘something that scares me the most is,’ ‘if I could,’ ‘I love when,’ ‘I have challenges when,’ ‘Today will be.’ Tell your teen to answer the questions when each day ends. Match their answering trend after two weeks.
Why it helps: When this exercise is executed in combination with other beneficial behaviors, there is a more gradual positive response. The exercise explains what it means to have a happy life.
9) Journal for gratitude
Keeping a journal for gratitude can greatly satisfy your child and help them have a more positive feeling regarding their lives and personality.
Instructions: Each day, tell him /her to write at least two occurrences they were thankful for in their life. Instruct them to increase the number slowly. Compare what they have written at the end of two weeks or one month.
Why it helps: Regular expression of gratitude results in more optimism, better associations, and improved living standards. Additionally, it boosts our self-confidence (Side note: it is helpful for adults too, haha).
10) Exercise: reassess negative thoughts
Talking negatively about oneself is a significant factor that leads to low self-esteem. Regularly practicing the following exercise will assist your teen in lowering the cycle of personal ill-talk and make them become more positive individuals.
Instructions: This exercise has four parts. In the first part, instruct your teenager to note what he/she believes causes a negative thought ‘(ex: I am stupid). In the second part, tell them to provide a detailed explanation of the negative thought (ex: I did not manage to do this math exercise), feelings associated with this negative thought in the third part (ex: I feel bad, useless, sad etc..), and proof that does not concur with their opinion in the fourth part (ex: I managed to do a previous math exercise or something challenging).
Then, they should develop different positive thinking to substitute the initial negative thought (ex: I was not focused enough, or I was tired, etc.) and evaluate how the positive impression impacts them.
Why it helps: Your teen realizes that often, negative thinking is an exaggeration, and negative thoughts do not define them.
11) Challenging the fundamental beliefs
In some cases, your teenage child may believe in untrue, semi-conscious belies that are undermining their worth. It is essential to eliminate these negative beliefs to help your teenager become more positive. Challenging their fundamental assumptions will help you achieve this.
Instructions: You can do this by helping your teenager identify and name three negative beliefs and explain why they hold such beliefs.
Why it helps: Taking your teenager through this activity will help them challenge their wrong beliefs and help them realize that the belief that they hold does not bring a positive impact on their lives. It will help them move beyond presumptions and start constructing positive beliefs.
12) History of assertive communication style
A child/teenager with underdeveloped communication skills often has low self-esteem. Involving the teenagers on an active recap of how communication works can be beneficial.
Instructions: Tell your teenager to identify three instances they can remember when they were assertive while communicating with another person and ask him or her to say how it felt (ex: saying no, expressing his/her feelings, etc.). If the teen cannot identify any instance, they may want to be assertive in the future.
Why it helps: This activity will help your teen learn that it is okay to be affirmative and stand up for themselves.
13) Self-appreciation projection
If we appreciate ourselves more, our self-esteem grows. Self-appreciation will help your child/teen to gain more confidence in himself or herself.
Instructions: You can ask your teenager to write down anything good about themselves. It is okay to start with small, simple things and help her or him progress to more meaningful qualities.
Why it helps: They will learn to appreciate and value themselves more.
14) The day’s positive word
Having a daily positive word can help your teen develop a positive outlook. With time, they will learn to have a positive outlook despite the circumstances.
Instructions: To help your teen in this, ask them to find a positive word for every good thing they do every day. For instance, if they help in cleaning the dishes, they can note the word “helpful.”
Why it helps: Having a positive word is reassuring and can help them see everything in a more positive light.
15) Motivational quotes
Holding motivational quotes challenges can be a great bonding activity for the whole family and a self-esteem booster.
Instructions: During this challenge, you can ask your teen to find or come up with 1 or 2 motivational quotes every day as an inspiration to achieve better things. You can also ask for a discussion to help them know the meaning of the quotes. These quotes can be interesting, witty, and sarcastic.
Why it helps: These discussions will help your teen develop a positive outcome and encourage them to do something positive every day.
16) A test on body-language
Body language tests can help your teen deal with self-criticism and negative energy that influence their self-worth.
Instructions: You can perform the body language test by asking your teen to observe their body language while looking at a mirror wherever they have a negative thought. You may also ask the teen to substitute a positive thought and then observe their body language. Let the teen write down the difference between the body language associated with positive and negative thoughts.
Why it helps: the test will help your child/teen have more control of negative thoughts and understand the significance of having positive body language and the impression these cues have on others.
17) Physical Activities
Dedicating time for physical activities with your teen can also help boost their self-esteem. The teen develops an active lifestyle, which makes them healthy and confident.
Instructions: You can encourage your teen to choose physical activities, such as a sport that they like. The teen can spend at least an hour every day on that sport.
Why it helps: Engaging in physical activities can help your teen learn that winning and losing is part of life and instill a spirit of sportsmanship too. Gradually, your teen will become more confident. Remember, providing compliments and support can reassure them that you will always support them.
18) Exploring new opportunities
Encouraging your teen to try new activities, discover hidden talents, and challenge themselves can enhance the teen’s confidence. However, several teenagers fear failure and would forgo opportunities to avoid embarrassment.
Instructions: To do this, you can encourage your teen to participate in volunteer activities, find a part-time job, and learn to play a musical instrument or join a club.
Why it helps: Mastering new skills will help your teenagers feel better about themselves and find out new skills they were not aware of…. It is like discovering what they are truly capable of…
Monologue plays a role in how we think about ourselves. If your teenager frequently thinks that other people think badly about them, they start to feel bad about themselves too.
Instructions: You can encourage your teenager to exercise self-talk out loud for 10 minutes. Be observant and help them identify untrue thoughts or negative thoughts and see that they are too harsh on themselves, which is detrimental to their confidence levels.
Why it helps: Healthy self-talk will help your teen reframe irrational thoughts with more realistic thoughts.
20) Praise the process and link it with the outcome
Sometimes, parents may go overboard, gushing about their teen’s award. These things are closely tied to self-esteem, and your teen may think they are only worthwhile when they achieve.
Instructions: Assuring your teen that they are worthwhile, whether they fail or make the achievement, is essential.
Why it helps: Congratulating your teen while emphasizing hard-work and effort will help them build their confidence.
We hope you will find a few of these 20 self-esteem activities for kids or teenagers useful for your children. They are really helpful and should be seen as a game to make it more effective.
If you have any other activity that can help improve a teenager’s self-esteem, feel free to let us know.
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Ekeland E, Heian F, Hagen KB, Abbott J, Nordheim L. Exercise to improve self-esteem in children and young people. NCBI
Brummelman E, Nelemans SA, Thomaes S, Orobio de Castro B. When Parents’ Praise Inflates, Children’s Self-Esteem Deflates. NCBI
Seyed Hojjat Zamani Sani, et al.,; Physical activity and self-esteem: testing direct and indirect relationships associated with psychological and physical mechanisms; Dovepress, NCBI