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3 Steps to Help Your Kiddo Build Self Esteem

Self-esteem has been a buzz word for a while now. It’s important for parents to help develop their kiddo’s sense of self or self-esteem. Have you ever thought about how self-esteem is developed or what it actually means? Well I’m here to help you out with that info!


As parents we are very impactful in the development of our kiddo’s esteem. We help develop it daily whether we realize it or not. One way that children develop their sense of self is through how we provide love and unconditional acceptance. The other way that we help our kiddos develop a sense of self is through helping them feel competent and capable. “Now how do I do that Meagan?” you might ask me.  We do that by a rule of thumb:

 1. “Never do for a child that which he can do for himself”  Gary Landreth aka The Godfather of Play Therapy

What all that means is that we allow kiddos to do what they can do by themselves. We allow them to experience what it is like to discover, figure out and problem solve. We show them we have faith in them and their capabilities by allowing them to struggle with a problem. We encourage them through the struggle, rather than solving the problem or making it go away, but by being with them and watching over them. We see their positive character qualities through their struggle, and we provide that encouragement and language to them. We give them the joy of discovery and the opportunity to feel capable because we will never know what they are capable of if we don’t allow them to try. 

2. Allow Them To Try Something New

Now how does this look in real life? How do I know what my child can do? Well you start by allowing them to try something new. You let your 5-year-old pick out their clothes and get dressed themselves when you are hanging around the house all day. Yes, that shirt is on backwards and their pants are on inside out but you encourage them and then help them from there. Or you let that 2-year-old try to climb that slide by standing next to them (instead of holding their hand or putting them up there) and then you encourage them! You let your twelve-year-old make choices about friends and support and encourage them.

3. Encourage Their Effort

When we allow our kiddos to try, to struggle and then to problem solve, we are teaching them about themselves, their grit and their capabilities. This is a gift that keeps on giving because we are creating a pattern and sense of capableness through each experience. I know that it’s hard to see your kiddo struggle and as parents we want to take that struggle away, but if we do that we will never create butterflies who only through the struggle of leaving the cocoon are able to create the wings that allow them to fly and have healthy and beautiful lives. 

Think you might need some more help with this? Book an appointment with Meagan now! 

About the Author:

Meagan Jackson provides counseling services in Dallas, Texas specializing in play therapy for children Meagan Jackson is our resident expert in all things parenting. She specializes in working with tough family relationships, and has over a decade of experience helping parents gain confidence in parenting. Contact us to schedule an appointment with Meagan today!

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