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The Best Self-Esteem Activities for Preschoolers

Come see some of The Best Self-Esteem Activities for Preschoolers. A secure sense of self-esteem is an important ingredient for preschoolers’ wellbeing and allows them to like and value themselves.  Parents and caregivers can support their preschoolers’ developing self-esteem through activities designed to hone their self-belief.  In this article, we look at practical ways you can build self-esteem development into interactions with your preschooler. 

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Convey Your Interest:

When you give your preschooler the gift of your time and interest, you help to convey that you believe they’re worthy of your focus, leading them to adopt a core belief that they are worthwhile and likeable.  If you are feeling resentful of or irritated with your preschooler, aim to process these feelings in ways that don’t involve acting them out on your preschooler.  This will equip you to authentically show delight about spending time with your child. 

Find activities that you both can enjoy.  If you love cooking, or painting, offer opportunities for your child to join you in these experiences so you can show your genuine enjoyment of this shared time together.  When you are enjoying spending time with your preschooler be sure to say and show this to support their self-esteem. Build your time and focus with The Best Social/Emotional Activities for Preschoolers to continue processing new feelings and building important conversations.

Offer Responsibility:

Giving your preschooler a chance to be responsible for a task or a chore can help to convey a belief that you trust your child, building their sense of self-belief.  Household tasks you can involve most preschoolers in include:

  • Folding dishcloths or matching up socks in the laundry pile. 
  • Using a dustpan and brush to sweep up crumbs.
  • Tidying toys away or putting books back onto the bookshelf. 
  • Putting clothes into the washing machine. 
  • Chopping mushrooms with a dinner knife when preparing food together.  

Remember to praise your child for the efforts they are making to show your appreciation for their help.   Avoid criticizing them for making a mess or making a “mistake”.   

the best self-esteem activities for preschoolers, washing dishes

Praise Effort:

If you grew up being praised for your intelligence or your academic results, you may find yourself tempted to praise your preschooler’s attainment rather than their effort.  However, focusing on giving positive feedback for your child’s efforts, rather than results, can build a growth mindset in them – giving them the confidence to keep trying, even when things don’t go as planned.  A growth mindset helps children to cope with mistakes and to develop a sense of resilience which contributes to self-esteem.   Use the following phrases to praise effort:

  • “Great try”
  • “You worked really hard there” 
  • “I’m proud of you for trying something different”.   
the best self-esteem activities for preschoolers, washing the dog

Drawing Together:

If your child enjoys creative tasks such as drawing or coloring, you can make this a shared activity from time to time.  Let yourself embrace your own inner child and have a go with the colors and crayons at the same time as your child is getting creative.  This allows you to spend time together on a shared activity.  You can further support your child’s self-esteem by commenting on what techniques you observe them using, and then try these out for yourself.  Fostering Creativity in Your Preschooler is essential for overall wellbeing and resourcefulness.

If your child is drawing lots of circles, you can say “I like the colorful circles you’re drawing there, I’m going to try that on my piece of paper too”.  This allows you to express what you notice about them and help them build their own sense of self as someone who can inspire others.   Ask your child what they’d like you to draw, and then have a go at creating that on your page.  This supports your child to experience a sense of personal mastery over their environment.  

Getting creative together also offers a fantastic opportunity to talk about the work you are both creating.  You can ask your preschooler what they like about their creation.  Questions you can use to foster this discussion include:

  • Which color is your favorite?
  • What do you like about your artwork?
  • What would you like to do next?  

Share your own thoughts and feelings about their work and your own creation too.  This helps to encourage reciprocal conversation and turn taking which can then support your preschooler to build supportive relationships with others. 

Keep Talking:

With any of the activities suggested in this article – chatting through your experiences with your preschooler can help to further support their self-esteem.  You can highlight the things they can do and talk about the skills they’re still developing.  Help to build your preschooler’s resilience and self-esteem by using the phrase” yet” and recognizing the efforts your child is showing for any skills they’re still working on – “you can’t climb to the top YET but I can see how hard you are working towards getting there soon”.  

If your preschooler gets frustrated with activities that they’re struggling with, offer alternative approaches and name the feeling – “I can see you’re getting frustrated with that jigsaw piece – shall we try it the other way round”.  In this way you narrate to your preschooler what you’re observing and convey the hope and belief that they can find a way through whatever setback they’re facing.  

Our Lead Contributor, Claire Law has a background of almost 20 years of teaching experience. She now works as a relational psychotherapist, writer and trainer. Claire is passionate about supporting children’s and young people’s mental health and wellbeing.

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