Experts say a significant drop in self-esteem happens between ages 9-12. Instilling confidence in kids during these pivotal years can start with action-oriented activities that promote family time and conversation.
“Simple tasks like doing a good deed for others, learning something new or accomplishing a goal, goes a long way in boosting self-esteem for tweens,” said Dr. Michele Borba, an educational psychologist and author of “UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About Me World.”
Here are 5 ways you can instill confidence in your tween through action:
Encourage your tween to team up with a pal to complete five acts of kindness in one week for people outside of your immediate circle. It could be helping a coach clean up after practice, holding the door, pitching in with a neighbor’s yard work, paying for the ice cream of the person behind you in line or any number of small gestures that help spread kindness.
Test out a new activity
Brainstorm activities with your tween that he or she has always wanted to learn but never tried like drawing, kickboxing or yoga. Engage your child in exploring how to make it happen. Ask around: many places offer free trial classes, the library may have a how-to video or you can work together to find someone who can help teach the new skills.
Be an agent for good
Inspire your tween to look for someone who has had a hard day, needs a friend or just a positive boost and encourage him or her to do something to make their day a little brighter. Think of simple, small gestures like leaving a note of encouragement for a friend, baking extra treats to thank a neighbor or cleaning up trash for the school janitor. Let your tween decide whether to make the actions known or keep it a surprise.
Interview a grown-up
Promote positive role models by asking your tween to interview someone he or she admires. It could be a favorite uncle, grandparent, teacher or anyone they find interesting. Challenge them to discover at least three new things, take notes or record the conversation and then write up a story to share the discoveries.