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Techniques for Teaching Kids Positive Self-Concepts

Updated on January 4, 2013

Positive Self-Concepts Support Achievement

The self-concept a person has will directly determine what they think about themselves and who they will become. Internal beliefs and attitudes are powerful influences that form a person's self-image. Developing positive self-concepts is critical in order to provide children with the personal resources needed for success and happiness in life. There is overwhelming research to show that the self-concepts children hold are significantly linked to their achievement in reading and general IQ. Furthermore, by the time children reach school age their self-concepts are quite well formed, and will have a large impact on their reactions to the physical, social, emotional environment of school. Nurturing a positive self-concept in children targets the whole child and helps to set them in a direction for overall success.


Fortunately, it is possible to change self-concepts. The child who goes to school with a negative personal belief system can be taught to see their strengths and effect change in a positive way. It isn’t an overnight process and significant change takes place slowly over time. The following are techniques that can be used to help children build healthy self-concepts and improve their ability to achieve in school, and in life. The results are not immediate but with real positive change in the self-concepts a child holds, the results are going to be long-lasting.

Techniques for Teaching Positive Self-Concepts to Children

Find a variety of ways that children are able to share the things that they do well. If a child creates a wonderful tower with blocks take a picture and hang it in view for everyone to see. They might be encouraged to phone grandma to tell her about it. They might even keep a scrapbook of all the towers that they build. The important thing is that their accomplishments are celebrated, remembered, and reflected on. Be sure to recognize a wide variety of things children do well and talk about them.

Work with children to create a list that best describes their assets. Often they will need encouragement and examples to come up with things they feel are assets, so it is helpful to have some suggestions to start out with. The list should not be completed all at once. Keep it around for easy access and add to it as more discoveries about the child are made. It can even be recorded permanently somewhere in the same way a growth chart would be. Children can continue to update it and read it over periodically for a positive boost. After several years the child will have a long list of positive assets they are able to realize about themselves.

Encourage children to make personal evaluations that help them to clarify and verbalize their feelings and their experiences. Keeping the lines of communication open is very important, and helping children to identify and talk about their feelings enables parents and educators to intervene and support positive thinking. The following are a list of conversation starters that can be used to encourage children to share their feelings and will also open the door, for opportunities to nuture positive self-concepts in children.

  • What are your feelings about....?
  • What do you want to happen with...?
  • What do you think about...?
  • What things make you the most happy?
  • What was the best part of your day?
  • What do you like best about yourself?
  • Tell me how you feel about your friends?
  • Tell me how you feel about school?
  • What do you think you do well?
  • What activities do you enjoy?
  • Is there anything you do not enjoy?
  • Is there anything you are afraid of?
  • What would you like to get better at?

Self-Concept Activities

  • Help children to keep a graffiti board of interests and accomplishments.
  • Have children make a collage of pictures (from magazines, etc.) to represent themselves.
  • Help children create a commercial to advertise their assets.
  • Ask children to create a logo or coat of arms to represent themselves. They can also create one to represent the family.

In Summary

The research is extensive to support the importance of positive self-concepts in children. The techniques offered are aimed at helping children develop a strong foundation, in order to improve their confidence and ability to succeed socially, emotionally and academically. Building positive self-concepts does not mean that children become boastful or focused on self. It just means that they are able to learn about themselves in a positive light and discover all the assets and strengths they have to share with the world.


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    • jenbeach21 profile image

      jenbeach21 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      These concepts are so important. Thanks for sharing!

    • Sturgeonl profile image

      Sturgeonl 5 years ago

      Thanks for your comments teaches12345. Every child is unique and deserves to be celebrated!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Great ideas that will really help children to developo self concepts with positive results. You activities are will help kids to think about those things that make them who they are. Voted up!