Developing Good Communication with your Child

good communication
Parental guidance

Developing good communication with your child is important for building a strong relationship and fostering positive development, especially for your teen.

When children are upset or emotionally out of sorts, it’s not the time to argue with them. When they scream or yell or throw things around, it’s not time to explain to them about the rules. At such a time, they are shutting themselves off as their emotions are completely out of control. It is definitely not the time to lecture or explain the rules or expect any apologies or demand an apology for their bad behaviour. Anything you might say would not really be heard or understood properly. The child is so overwhelmed with by their feelings that their emotional state is on overload.

Information is not understood or observed properly. It’s only when things have returned to normal that reminders of family rules and expectations can be explained or re enforced. A child needs to be attentive and calm to understand and process information correctly. This should be done in a loving and understanding manner. Parents need to hold back from jumping in too quickly.

The best way to teach children is to listen to them.

raising children
raising happy children

Helping our children through angry, sad or difficult moments can be difficult to manage as a parent, and some parental guidance is needed.

It’s important to establish good everyday words of communication that are spoken without judgemental or shaming words that can so easily crush a child’s esteem.  Often we as parents don’t give our children clear instructions. But we can fall into the trap of using bribery or threatening to punish or compromise a situation, simply to bring about a child’s compliance with what they have been asked to do.

Below is a list of some words and phrases that parents often use to get their child to do what’s been asked of them

“Stop whining and crying like a baby…

I’ve had it with you.  Do you want to go to your room?…

If you finish all your vegies, you can …..

OK do that again and you will be very sorry….

You’re causing me to get angry. (tone of voice)….

It’s not a big deal, you will get over it in time…

Oh, just stop doing that…

You have to do it, because I said so…

You’re whining again…

You’ll get something special if you finish all your dinner…

See how your sister is behaving ?  Why can’t you do that?…

No means no because I said so…

OK, forget what I said, we’ll do it your way or

We will do it next time… “

All of these behavioural communication expressions have very confusing messages attached to them.

Children learn very quickly that you will eventually ‘give in” if they persist long enough or that sometimes you are harder on them than their sibling.

They learn that…

you don’t listen

you change your mind and they are never quite sure what they can get away with or…

after the count of 3 you won’t really do anything

you cave in easily

you are always watching and judging them

they always feel critiqued

they think that they always misbehaving

Children feel so overwhelmed by rules and regulations that are always changing and not followed through on. Parents’ mixed messages are confusing to them and they can become confused and irritable and sometimes angry out of frustration.

Here are some tips for improving communication with your child:

Create a safe space: Make sure your child feels comfortable and safe to express their thoughts and feelings without fear of judgment or punishment.

Listen actively: Show your child that you are interested in what they have to say by giving them your full attention and responding thoughtfully to their comments.

Ask open-ended questions: Instead of asking yes or no questions, ask questions that encourage your child to elaborate on their thoughts and feelings.

Use age-appropriate language: Tailor your language to your child’s developmental level so they can better understand what you’re saying.

Be patient: Sometimes children need time to articulate their thoughts, so give them the space and time to express themselves.

Validate their feelings: Even if you don’t agree with your child’s perspective, acknowledge their feelings and let them know that their emotions are valid.

Avoid criticism: Avoid criticizing or judging your child for their thoughts or feelings. Instead, focus on positive reinforcement and encouraging their growth.

By implementing these strategies, you can create a healthy and open line of communication with your child, that will benefit them throughout their lives.

All communication with your child needs to be simple, unambiguous, encouraging and positive.

Young Children and Communication


building self esteem


How to develop self confidence in your child

self esteem

Knowing how to develop self confidence in your child will strengthen their overall development.

Building self confidence in children should be practised using a positive self-esteem parenting approach

How to define self-esteem for kids…

Building self-esteem in children is all about helping kids feel good about themselves… proud of their own achievements. High self-esteem allows kids to gain a greater ability to believe in themselves, to solve problems and become competent.

Confidence building helps kids strengthen their ability to believe in themselves and to solve problems that enables them to feel more competent.

The foundation to a child’s self-esteem is built around strong, loving, warm, environmental relationships. Such an environment is the basis for developing self-confidence and encouraging kids to believe in themselves. This constitutes a more caring, worthwhile, and valued approach to confidence building, leading to strengthening self-esteem in children.

When looking at a child’s self-esteem, remember that all children are so very different. Some children just thrive on challenges and will persist until they succeed. However, this is not necessarily the norm and is not the case in many other children. Many children are more reticent, and shy away from trying new things.

What causes low self-esteem in children?

Low self-esteem in children can be caused by environmental changes, lack of education ……. or parenting and other missed opportunities. A prime example would be the effects of  lockdown due to a pandemic like Covid-19. Another cause might be an over-emphasis on perfection or unrealistic expectations from their guardians. However, knowing how to teach confidence to a child and developing positive self-esteem can gradually overturn low self-esteem in children, through using positive self-esteem strategies .

Parents can use confidence building activities for kids to overcome low self-esteem issues


Building up self-esteem

All children mess up from time to time and a child’s self-esteem can very easily be crushed if he or she is humiliated or if negative language is used. A child’s self-worth can be easily damaged by repeated negative language and this could lead to long term low self-esteem in children. Developing self-esteem in kids is about taking the time to explain quietly to them the situation at hand.

Building self-esteem in a child strengthens their self-worth

It is important to use a more positive parenting approach around language, tone of voice, that doesn’t fuel a child’s anger, resentment, shame or humiliation. Refrain from using the word “NO” or shouting at children, as these words and actions are negative. Replace them with positive words around what they can do, not what they cannot do. Focusing on a child’s efforts and achievements is the best way to positive self-esteem building.

Find reasons to praise a child.

Praise is positive self-esteem building that helps boost a child’s self-image… for example, thanking children for their input or help.

“Thank you for helping me make the cake, I needed your help”

“You made your bed! Well done. I am proud of you”

These statements are positive words that strengthen a child’s sense of self-worth. They feel appreciated and their self-esteem is strengthened.

A positive parenting approach demonstrates empathy and kindness, with clear limits and consistency

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Encouragement is one of the best ways of building self confidence in kids, as it develops good self-esteem


Developing self-esteem takes time and by lots of gentle encouragement, trying new and more difficult things, helps kids increase self-confidence.

Every child needs to feel worthwhile and valued.

A child’s good health is centered around their parent’s encouragement to eat healthy foods. A child’s self-esteem should also be centered on building self-confidence by parents. Confidence building needs parents, grandparents, guardians, or teachers to be focused on building up self-esteem with positive encouragement and praise, when deserved or needed. For a child to develop self-esteem, they need positive feedback and encouragement within a caring environment that has their best interests, needs and aspirations in mind.

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From a very young age, children are developing a sense of their own identity, self-awareness, and self-worth. They are watching and learning from their parents, and those around them with regard to their facial expressions, their body language, and their tone of voice. They need to be cared for, loved, and appreciated. When children face new challenges and try new things, they are building self confidence and self-esteem. Every time they overcome these challenges, their self-image is strengthened.

Building self-esteem in kids means acknowledging a child’s self-worth.

Praising them for their efforts helps boost their self-image. A child’s self-value is increased dramatically, and they feel good about themselves. Compliments will affect a child’s self-esteem development. Even the smallest of things will help… parents showing excitement or words of encouragement and praise, enables a child’s self-esteem to grow and they feel proud and happy with their achievements.

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Developing positive self-esteem in a child

Board games are excellent confidence building activities for kids.

Increase self confidence in your kids with fun child self-esteem activities.

Introducing new games to children is a good confidence building exercise to strengthen and improve self-esteem in kids.

Self-confidence activities might include board games as they learn strategies… jigsaw puzzles, memory games, skipping with a rope, balancing, and catching a ball are all good self-esteem activities that can provide a confidence boost. Child self-esteem activities strengthen brain function, improve memory, as well as enhance hand-eye coordination.

Building confidence in your child allows them to feel pleased and have more belief in their own achievements when they have overcome something they may have previously found difficult to achieve.

High self-esteem children are far more willing to persist with difficulties or setbacks they may face. Children’s self-esteem levels grow dramatically when they overcome new challenges, no matter how small they might be. They are building self-confidence with every small achievement they overcome. A child’s self-value is given a boost and when they are building self-confidence this helps a child’s sense of self-value

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A child’s self-image is defined by their sense of self-worth, meaning that if their self-value is low, they may need a confidence boost.

When children have a lack of confidence or a negative self-image it’s important to find ways to boost their self-image or their low self-esteem. Finding different ways to help around the home and setting them little tasks they can be involved in, boost their feelings of self-worth, and help them to feel valued and important.

Find chores kids can regularly get involved with.

Engaging children in special activities to improve self-esteem for their age group helps promote a positive self-image. Setting little tasks such as helping wash the car or helping to fold the washing are all tasks that are building self-confidence and a sense of responsibility.

When kids have a positive self-image about themselves, they are far more inclined to take on harder challenges, persist and be successful. Their self-worth and self-image are so closely linked that it’s important children feel good about themselves before they undertake confidence building activities.


  • Children often compare themselves with others and sometimes failure happens. Confidence building is about allowing kids to fail but encouraging them to always try again and overcome their lack of self-confidence.
  • Focus on a child’s efforts, as perfection and winning is not often possible. This builds resilience and courage.
  • Praise your child’s efforts as this boosts self-worth and a child’s self-esteem
  • A child’s self-esteem is boosted when they are successful after several attempts.
  • Self-esteem enables kids to face new and more difficult challenges.
  • Promote activities to improve self-esteem in kids.

Confidence building activities

4 Small Ways to Build Confidence in Kids

5 Essential Parenting Tips – Supernanny

child behaving badly

Tip #1 What to do when your child is behaving badly and continually wants their own way

Help your child to recognise that their bad behaviour is not acceptable. You need to follow through with your decisions and help the child to apologise for misbehaving.

Tip #2 Training your child to respect others

Teach your child to know that you are in charge and that they need to have respect. Children need to learn to share with others and it is always good to reinforce good behaviour with praise when they show respect.

Tip #3 How to avoid tantrums

Always make your expectations clear. If the child is in the habit of throwing a tantrum when it is time to leave, give adequate warning at the beginning, then half-way through the session and again when it is time to go.  Reassure them that they will come back again and always follow through.

Tip #4 How to encourage your child to take responsibility for themselves.

Always make clear what is required of the child and praise your child when the required task is completed.

Tip #5 Training a child to be compliant

Sometimes a child will misbehave on purpose, to get your attention and to get you to give in on your demands. This is when it is it is helpful to actively ignore the child until they comply. Eventually they will learn that obedience is in their best interests.

Listen to the advice of the “Supernanny” in this video…

Boosting Child Self Esteem

self respect

While some children, by nature, have a greater sense of self confidence and a high self esteem, many others do not. Those children are often lacking confidence in many areas of their lives and often need a confidence boost.

Self esteem is built in incremental stages throughout a child’s developing years and on into adulthood.

Parents and teachers play a particularly important role in helping these children boost their self esteem. This can be done by encouraging them to participate, giving them lots of positive praise and an enthusiastic response when they do make an effort.

How to build confidence in small stages by encouraging children.

Children who lack self confidence often refrain from participating in activities if they may have been made fun of in the past or feel overwhelmed or self conscious when others are intently watching them.



When children are presented with a new activity, some children jump at the chance, but others hold back because they’re lacking confidence in their ability and may express that it’s too difficult.

Parents and teachers need to seize every opportunity to encourage children to confront their lack of self esteem, by using encouraging words, eye contact and enthusiastic expression.

Encourage children to try new things and have a go. A child with a low self esteem may be very timid when trying new activities for the first time, but with positive words of encouragement they can overcome their fears and increase their self confidence.

Encouragement strengthens self confidence

It may be the first time a child attempts to ride a bike or try to cut paper using scissors. It doesn’t matter if they make mistakes, what’s important is that you encourage them to have a go. Children develop and learn by overcoming their mistakes. This is what builds a child’s self confidence and self esteem.

Encourage children to try new things


Positive affirmations of encouragement build a child’s self esteem.

As a parent or teacher, model positive phrases to children. Children learn by watching others’ behaviours. Negative or damaging banter or behaviour can be confusing and have a detrimental effect on those watching. Therefore…

Demonstrating you’re pleased, using both happy facial expression and positive words of affirmation, demonstrates you acknowledge their efforts…

Using words of encouragement every day gradually builds a child’s self confidence. Their self esteem levels grow, and they develop into more confident kids…

Give a child tasks to do around the house that they may be responsible for… 

Embracing new challenges develops a child’s self esteem and develops their self worth. Children look for approval from others all the time, checking on their reaction and when it’s expressed, they gain a boost to their self confidence.

Encouragement is always a great way to give a child a confidence boost.  Here are some…


  • “Have a go, you may surprise yourself!”
  • “I will be here to help you”
  • “Well done, what a great effort!”
  • “You must be pleased with yourself!”

2          PRAISE

Praise builds a positive image of self .

Praise your child for effort as this shows they are willing to have a go and participate even if they are lacking confidence in themselves. Children need to be encouraged to have a go and be willing to do something that may seem to be challenging at first but may become easier with repeated effort. Praise your child for participation as it builds boosts their self confidence while increasing their self esteem levels.

Parental guidance

Praise builds happy children.

Praise needs to be given freely and often as it demonstrates that you appreciate their efforts and acknowledge their achievements. Praise from others strengthens their feeling of self worth and develops their ability to self-praise, as well as enhancing their image of self.

Overcoming challenges builds self esteem

Self esteem comes from children recognising that real effort is required before they can achieve their goals. When a parent, teacher or coach praises them, they realize their efforts are appreciated and acknowledged.

Positive reinforcement with positive affirmative statements gives a child a confidence boost.

A child’s self worth is greatly enhanced when children learn new skills and overcome challenges. Their self esteem is given a huge boost and their self confidence takes a giant leap. Supportive parents and teachers enthusiastically praise children for their achievements using affirmative phrases similar to those below…

Praise children enthusiastically using affirmations phrases such as:

  • “well done, what an achievement you’ve made!”
  • “you must be very pleased with yourself because I certainly am!”
  • “that was a great effort you put in there, well done!”

3          RESILIENCE

Resilience is the key strengthening tool a child needs when they take a blow to their own self confidence or self worth.

Teach Resilience

All children are capable of amazing things; however, many children face different challenges that weaken their self confidence and from time to time they need a confidence boost.

When children are faced with adversity, difficult decisions or dilemmas in their lives, it places a huge stress on their self esteem and can create a perception of low self self worth.

Children have different levels of resilience. They may be more emotional, angry, have feelings of defeat or perhaps behave in an introspective and quiet manner. Difficult emotional situations and challenges will always present themselves and may affect their self esteem. All children need to learn the skill of negotiating them.

Resilience reinforces self worth

Resilience is the key to gaining strength to confront inner conflicts and troublesome situations. Resilience gives children coping skills for bouncing back and getting on top of concerns that are likely to affect their self esteem, self respect or self worth.

Resilience is a major coping skill that not only improves self esteem but allows children to develop a stronger image of self confidence.

Resilience builds a stronger capacity to cope when faced with bewildering situations where their self esteem is greatly affected. It helps them bounce back more quickly after a blow to their self confidence.


Children need supportive positive relationships with caring parents or other support groups that can guide and help them navigate stressful and challenging situations. Positive relationships that are trusting, honest and have the child’s best interest at heart are paramount in building strong foundations and resilience.

Building strong relationships develops self respect.

Good strong social connections with friends, family, friends, teachers, and trusted people builds good strong reliable relationships with others. Positive relationships build a stronger, more caring spirit of cooperation… looking out for others and being aware of opportunities where they can build each other up, if self esteem levels are waning.

Positive relationships often last a lifetime.

Children’s self esteem increases when they recognize the importance of participation and putting effort into trying a new skill. But they need to put in the effort. Low self esteem is strengthened when children recognise that effort is required to achieve goals.


Problem solving develops self confidence

Teach Problem Solving Skills

If a child is not given the encouragement, praise, resilience and support and left totally to their own devices, low self esteem may continue long into the future.

A low self esteem can lead to many future difficulties and if left unchecked could lead to declining self respect.

Build a positive mindset

Build their problem solving skills. Teaching problem solving skills builds self esteem.

Children need to be equipped with the ability to look at a problem, and using their thought processes, try different scenarios to ultimately solve the problem. Concentrating on problem solving skills develops a child’s cognitive ability to work out different ways of overcoming difficult situations creatively.

Problem solving activities to improve self esteem and self confidence…

Strengthening a child’s self confidence can be achieved by actively being involved with many normal activities around the home. Being involved and responsible for different chores and general activities without a monetary reward builds more responsible kids. Encouragement, praise, and lots of thanks for accomplishments builds strong character, self esteem and confident, happy kids.

When children overcome new circumstances, their self worth gets a huge boost and they often beam with pride. Children also need to learn that overcoming difficulties builds knowledge and the ability to grow and strengthen their self confidence. When others praise them for achievements, they quickly take pride in themselves for efforts well done. Self praise is also a very important component in a child’s development.

Teach children to challenge themselves

Besides problem solving, children need to develop the skill of challenging themselves to finding solutions. Parents need to encourage children to try new things. This strengthens their self esteem while it builds self confidence.

In learning the skill of challenging themselves, it helps them overcome the more difficult situations. When they learn the art of challenging themselves, they can go on to influence and praise others for their efforts, again building up their own self esteem.

When children overcome dilemmas on their own, it boosts self esteem and helps them see that obstacles can be overcome. This creates confident kids as they learn new problem solving skills.

Confidence building activities for kids and teens…

When you spend time with your children, they are more likely to seek out your advice… when they know their opinion is valued and respected.

These can be situations where you spend quality time with your children, whatever their age. It may be time where the TV is off, laptop is shut, and the phone is off. Quality time is spent building up your child’s self esteem by listening to them, asking questions on how they feel or for their point of view on a topic. When their opinion is sought, children feel valued, and their self worth gets a boost.


  • Teaching your children to cook
  • Setting up a vegetable garden and being responsible for attending to it
  • Feeding the chickens and collecting the eggs
  • Washing the car… every week
  • Playing with jigsaws, puzzles, building things and creative play
  • Regular fun activity nights playing memory games, cards (eg crazy whist)
  • Puzzles, memory games, jigsaw puzzles, building things, creative play,
  • Asking questions… lots of visual games…
    • “How do you think we can glue the aeroplane together?”
    • “We don’t have any green color so what 2 colours could we mix together to make green?”
  • Creative Play
    • Creative play is very important for developing a child’s self esteem, while building their self confidence.  Confident kids are more willing to express themselves by experimenting with modelling clay, creative painting, planting their own vegetable garden and attempting more difficult projects.


Doing what they are good at not only develops a child’s self esteem but builds greater self confidence. Often children are quite talented at a particular sport or activity and, when given the opportunity to participate, their self esteem level soars.

Children need to be given various opportunities to find out what exactly their particular interests are. If they are not given the opportunities to try different creative activities, they may never discover a hidden talent that they may excel in.

Participation in the arts and sport programs opens up the door to many self esteem building activities, giving them a great deal of self worth and self respect. Meeting other children with similar interests not only builds strong friendships but greatly boosts self esteem for everyone.

Open up their creative interests, allow new possibilities for them to try different activities to further develop their self confidence. Team activities allow children to work out strategies and working cooperatively with others is a good self esteem building exercise… congratulating other players for their effort. This can develop close friendships along with their own self image.


Self confidence building activities

  • They may enjoy playing cricket… join the local cricket club
  • Swimming, horse riding, football… there are so many more.
  • If children love dancing, enrol them in dancing classes
  • It might be playing the piano… give them piano lessons.
  • Chess competitions, theatre clubs, creative cooking classes

Children just need opportunities to build their self worth and self confidence


Model and teach your children positive affirmations.

Your words and actions should always be demonstrated and reflect your own values, using positive self-esteem-building conversations. They should be praising and encouraging, never damaging in anyway, as children are always watching and listening.

When children see their parents or teachers modelling affirmative statements e.g., “I will always have a go”… “If I don’t succeed, I will try again”, these statements reflect a positive image of self worth.

By demonstrating positive modelling (behaviours and statements) you are inadvertently using self esteem building tools.


  • “I can do difficult things”
  • “I will always try and have a go”
  • “Mistakes help me learn”
  • “I can do this”
  • “I will learn to ask for help”
  • “I will do things that are hard”
  • “I am a problem solver”
  • “I will learn from my mistakes”
  • “I will help others”
  • “I will learn from my mistakes”
  • “I will always try to do my best”

These simple phrases help children or teens with feelings of anxiety when faced with anxious moments that affect their self esteem.

In Summary…

Self confidence is a vital tool for building a child’s self esteem. It plays an important role in their future happiness, health and wellbeing.

When a child develops self esteem and self confidence, it equips them with the skills they need to deal with their own behaviour, how they conduct themselves when they are confronted with life’s many negative challenges or frustrations.

Self esteem gives them the self confidence to pursue their own dreams and aspirations as they continue to believe more in themselves and develop into happier children.

Read more about Raising Happy Children