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Confidence Building Ideas For Homeschoolers

Self-Esteem Building For Homeschoolers
By: Mindy Scirri, Ph.D. and Courtney Newman
*This post contains affiliate links. Things you buy through our links may earn us a commission.

As homeschoolers trying to best support our children’s academics, making sure we meet or exceed state homeschooling requirements, and focusing on preparing our children for college and career, we may lose focus on one of the most important parts of our children’s development: confidence. In fact, if your child is a product of earlier, more traditional schooling, you may inherit some damaged self-esteem, particularly if your child struggled in that setting. How, then, can you repair self-esteem and continue to build confidence in your homeschooler? Let’s examine some self-esteem activities and guidelines that can help!

Suggestions for Building Your Child’s Self-Esteem

Self-Esteem Activities to Encourage Confidence & Growth Mindset

Resources to Support Your Child’s Positive Self-Concept

*Although some of the resources listed here are free, those marked with a $ have a cost or require a fee/subscription to access the full range of materials.

 

Suggestions for Building Your Child’s Self-Esteem 

 

 

Parents want their children to feel confident and capable.  If you’ve noticed your child has low self-esteem or tends to be overly fearful of “academic risk taking,” your heart likely breaks a little each day. Most of us have been there when we think about any struggles our children may have.  Thankfully, there are several ways you can help encourage your child to feel more confident and comfortable with your child’s own strengths and challenges.

Above all, you want your child to move forward in this world knowing that while there will be challenges and setbacks, your child CAN work through them and find success. Instead of feeling defeated, your child needs to persevere and have the confidence to overcome bumps in the road. Your child needs to develop a “growth mindset,” to believe that abilities can be developed or improved with hard work and dedication (Dweck, 2015). Let’s look at ways to help build your child’s self-esteem and growth mindset:

  • Offer Small Responsibilities: Sometimes, all it takes is a small responsibility to help your child feel more capable. Starting your child with something small, such as feeding the cat, shows that you trust your child’s abilities to complete tasks independently.
  • Use Positive Reinforcement: Many of us have heard about the benefits of using positive reinforcement rather than negative consequences, and this may be particularly true if your child struggles with confidence. Use encouragement during task completion and gratitude after tasks are completed.
  • Use Praise Appropriately: Use specific praise, or praise that clearly states what your child is doing well, when your child is working on something. Avoid overusing praise or using praise for tasks your child has already mastered. You need to give your child time to feel pride rather than always be seeking your approval.
  • Focus on Effort: Even when the result isn’t what was anticipated, your child’s effort matters. Rather than focus only on grades or test scores or trophies, make sure that your child knows you value time spent studying or doing homework or working on projects or extracurricular activities.
  • Spend One-on-One Time. One-on-one time can do so much for any child, especially a child who is struggling in some way. Sometimes, all your child needs is to be held or hugged for an uninterrupted moment. Other times, your child may just need some of your undivided attention to show your child you value thoughts, feelings, and activities. And sometimes your child just needs to have fun with a non-judgmental you!

 

Self-Esteem Activities to Encourage Confidence & Growth Mindset

 

 

As we work toward greater self-esteem in our children, there are activities we can do with them at home to help! These activities help apply the suggestions we discussed above in practical and relatable ways. Ideals are easy enough to offer but bringing them home into our daily practice can be far more challenging. Here are ways you can work with your child on the journey to gaining more confidence!

  • Encourage your child to practice positive affirmations: Help your child to use positive, motivating self-talk statements. Try going through a list of positive affirmations daily with your child but change it up every so often so it doesn’t become mere routine.

    • Teach your child to reframe negative thoughts: Whenever your child makes a negative comment aloud, help your child to notice and then reword in a more positive way. Talk to your child about avoiding words like “always” and “never,” which result in generalities that just aren’t true. Model how to reframe your own negative thoughts when they occur.
    • Help your child list your child’s wins in life: Encourage your child to write in a gratitude journal. Have your child think about strengths and abilities, people who are supportive, and all the assets in your child’s life. This can be added to daily—in the morning to set the mood for the day or in the evening right before falling asleep.
    • Co-create a tribute to your child’s achievements: Dedicate a wall to our child’s achievements. Begin by asking your child to pick successes. Then take photos of your child’s proud moments, accomplishments, and successes to display on the wall. These achievements can be big or small— what matters is that each was an achievement for your child. In fact, most often the small moments matter the most! If you can’t dedicate a wall, consider a photo collage to make your child’s successes a prominent wall decor in your home.
    • Design art projects that celebrate your child: For example, have your child write down honest self-descriptions, followed by listing the positive things people have said about your child. Next, print your child’s photo centered on a page, and have your child fill in the positive words or draw positive images around the photo. Hang it in your child’s bedroom or above a desk, wherever your child is likely to see it the most for encouragement.

 

Resources to Support Your Child’s Positive Self-Concept

 

 

Sometimes adding a little structure to homeschool activities can ensure that priorities are met. Maybe a picture book can help you convey the idea of a growth mindset to your young child or a self-esteem workbook for teens can help your older homeschooler figure out how to focus on abilities and strengths rather than challenges. Here are some resources that can help you help your child realize potential and avoid uncertainties:

Big Life Kids Podcast
“Join Leo and Zara as they explore the world, discover growth mindset strategies, and hear inspiring stories of real-life role-models who’ve overcome real challenges. Each episode is reviewed by a licensed therapist to ensure that each episode is not only entertaining for children but also offers valuable psychology-backed lessons and strategies.”

Can Do! Kids! 
When kids struggle with anything, sometimes they forget about the many strengths they have. Try these activities that focus on helping your child “realize and appreciate their abilities as they try to accomplish their goals and reach their dreams.” 

Growth Mindset Activities for Kids: 55 Exercises to Embrace Learning and Overcome Challenges $
By Esther Pia Cordova (Author)
“Featuring dozens of everyday examples and simple exercises, this growth mindset for kids book is a great way to teach them that they can take on just about anything with a little effort and encouragement. The fun (and rewarding!) work of dreaming big, making missteps, and expanding their minds starts now. Let’s get started!”

 

 

Growth Mindset Workbook for Kids: 55 Fun Activities to Think Creatively, Solve Problems, and Love Learning $
By: Peyton Curley (Author)
“Packed with awesome activities and easy exercises, this complete workbook addressing growth mindset for kids is a great way to master just about anything with a little effort and encouragement. The real and rewarding work of dreaming big, making missteps, and expanding your mind (like a muscle) starts now. Let’s find out what amazing things you can do―a growth mindset for kids is mission possible!”

 

 

Homeschool with Confidence: A Goal-Setting Guide for Teens $
By Suki Wessling (Author)
“When teens continue to depend on their parents to set and achieve homeschooling goals, tension can arise in the household. The teens feel–quite rightly–that it’s their education and they should be involved in the decision-making. But unless teens learn to identify their goals, it’s hard for them to work with their parents in making educational decisions. This book isn’t for parents–it’s for you, a homeschooled teen who wants to own your education and take responsibility for your future.”

 

 

 

I Am, I Can: 365 Affirmations for Kids $
By: Wynne Kinder (Author)
“Affirmations tied to certain key events from history provide motivation and encouragement. On April 17, learn about the Apollo 13 mission and discover how to stay calm under pressure. On Dec. 1, Rosa Parks’s refusal to give up her seat on the bus links to the affirmation “I stand up for myself and others.” This children’s mental health book is also packed with practical activities — from creating a “happiness jar” to help young readers come up with their own affirmations to building a “coping wheel” to show them how to manage stress. I Am I Can is a powerful book that will teach children how to believe in themselves and keep anxiety at bay.”

 

 

Mindful Affirmations and Activities: A Kid’s Guide with 50 Positive Mantras and Activities to Manage Emotions, Grow Mindful, Strong and Confident $
By: Pragya Tomar (Author) and Michela Fiori (Illustrator)
Growing up can be a difficult time for kids, especially when they need to deal with emotions like anxiety, sadness, and stress, but this inspiring book seeks to help them on their journey of self-discovery, providing them a safe and enjoyable place to doodle, color, journal, vent, and let go of their worries. With mantras designed to boost self-esteem and help kids develop healthy levels of confidence, as well as engaging questions which prompt them to consider new ideas, reflect on concepts like forgiveness and gratitude, and improve their imagination, Mindful Affirmations and Activities will quickly become a treasured journal or diary which your kids will love to write in.”

 

 

Your Fantastic Elastic Brain $
By JoAnn Deak, Ph.D. (Author), Sarah Ackerley (Illustrator)
“Did you know you can stretch and grow your own brain? Or that making mistakes is one of the best ways your brain learns? Awarded as one of the best growth mindset books for kids, Your Fantastic Elastic Brain: Stretch It, Shape It teaches all the ways that the brain can develop with exercise, just like the rest of our bodies. Educator and psychologist Dr. JoAnn Deak offers a fun and engaging introduction to the anatomy and functions of the brain that will empower each young reader to S-T-R-E-T-C-H and grow their fantastic, elastic brain!”

 

Remember that teaching in a way that supports your child’s confidence requires a change in your mindset as well as your child’s. These tips and self-esteem activities can help you boost your child’s confidence and develop greater self-esteem so that your child can handle challenges and maintain a positive self-concept. Mastering school subjects may be important, but this part of homeschooling—supporting your child to become a confident individual who perseveres through challenges—just may be the ultimate achievement!

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