Articles and Advice

Enhancing Children's Self Esteem

Parents and daycare providers share an important responsibility to help nurture a child's identity and feelings of accomplishment and value.

The early childhood years are a critical time in the formation of self esteem. During these first years children form impressions of their capabilities and self worth based on their successes and the feedback they receive.

Children with a strong sense of self worth feel able to take on challenges, believe in their ability to be successful, and see setbacks as temporary situations that can be overcome. Children with poor self image are easily discouraged, lack initiative to begin daunting tasks and see obstacles as defeating and permanent.

Daily interactions, teaching methods and choices in an early childhood education program make an important impact on children's development of self esteem.


  • Talk positively with children about identity and physical characteristics
  • Give children individual attention during activities and routines
  • Call children by name and include their perspective in conversations
  • React to teasing or rejecting among children by intervening to discuss similarities and differences
  • Speak with children at their eye level often throughout the day

Daily Schedule

  • Allow plenty of time for children to make choices in child-directed play
  • Plan group time based on children's ability to attend
  • Provide ample time for transitions to minimize children's frustrations
  • Create routines that encourage children to be independent


  • Place toys and materials on low shelves, easily accessible to the children
  • Provide supplies that reflect children's identity and culture
  • Enhance the dramatic play center with mirrors and dress up clothes to allow children to explore
  • Label bins and toy shelves so children can participate in clean up
  • Keep hand washing supplies and self help materials within children's reach


  • Plan activities that challenge the children and allow them to feel a true sense of accomplishment
  • Allow opportunities for children to practice skills they are mastering to enhance confidence
  • Provide activities that encourage children to share their talents and interests.

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