Kids with ADHD or learning differences can struggle with self-esteem. Learn simple tips for parents and discover fun games and activities to boost self-esteem.
Kids with attention issues or learning differences often struggle with self-esteem issues.
The essence of a child’s self-esteem consists of how they feel and think about themselves. Much of that can derive from how much support and encouragement they receive from the important people in their lives. And, if you’re one of those people, experts say that routine actions on a small scale that can help promote positive self-esteem.
Although poor self esteem creates serious issues, there are some fun, simple ways that you can help address it, including incorporating fun activities and games into your routines.
Self Esteem & ADHD/Learning Differences
For kids with ADHD and learning differences, self-esteem can take multiple hits on a daily basis. Whether it’s the constant stream of criticism or negative feedback that an ADHD child may receive from teachers, parents and peers. Or, concerns relating to performance issues that may stem from learning differences.
Any or all of these can make a child feel “less than” his siblings and peers. Plus, any coexisting anxiety issues can magnify the volume of those negative messages.
Action Tips for Parents to Boost Self-Esteem
There are many different approaches that parents can take to help promote positive self esteem. Some basic actions include:
Focus on Strengths
It’s very easy to fall into a “fix-it” mode when it comes to addressing your child’s learning or attention issues. But experts say that you should focus meaningful time and energy on supporting your child’s strengths.
A child’s strengths, interests and talents can build the foundation for a productive and joyful life. And, focusing on and cultivating your child’s strengths will help build self-esteem.
Nurture talents and interests
You can also promote positive self esteem by nurturing your child’s talents and interests. While this is closely related to adopting a focus on strengths, they aren’t entirely the same.
True interests should be explored regardless of whether it is a strength area. Rather, it’s something that brings your child joy. And, perhaps, it could one day grown into a strength area.
Provide opportunities for success
You can help your child think and feel good about himself by providing opportunities for him to succeed and shine. For example, you can assign or enlist your child’s assistance with certain chores that meaningfully contribute to the household in some way.
Something that’s actually useful, and has tangible results. Helping people who are important to you can increase your own sense of self-worth.
Find something appropriate for child’s age and skill level whether helping put in fresh trash liners or actually caritng the trash and recycling to the curb. Or, someone could be the box fairy, responsible for breaking down or helping to break down all of those boxes that magically appear via delivery to your doorstep.
You can also create opportunities for success through some of the fun games to boost self esteem identified below.
Building strong interpersonal/family connections
People can feel good about themselves when they know that there are others who feel good about them. Leading experts encourage parents to focus on building strong interpersonal connections within the family. This positive web of support can help protect and build self esteem.
Focus on routinely expressing your unconditional love for your child. Find something you can do orsay every day to make sure that your kid knows that you love him. This includes simple demonstrations of affection like exchanging hugs on greeting and parting or nightly rituals of snuggling up on the couch to read or listen to music.
Experts also encourage daily special time with your child for a wide range of reasons, including that it can help promote self-esteem. Even 15-20 minutes a day can be beneficial. And, this special time can be paired with some of the activities and games discussed below.
13 Fun Games that Build Self Esteem
Here is a selection of fun games and activities that help boost your kid’s self-esteem. Some of these are games or activities that require little to no advance planning, and that you can probably pull off using stuff you find around your home. Others are games that can be purchased and incorporated into your family game night arsenal.
Geocaching does require some advanced planning, but it is relatively easy to pull off. And, it doesn’t require much in the way of extra equipment. If you have access to a smartphone, you’re good to go.
Geocaching essentially provides endless opportunities to hunt for treasure. The fun element comes from the delight of discovery and elements of adventure.
Geocaching hs been around for the past 20 years and has grown to include millions of players around the world. Engaged players have stashed more than 3 million geocaches across more than 190 countries. To find ones close to you, visit the official geocaching website.
Geocaching is a fun activity that can be both mentally and physically engaging. It provides numerous opportunities for success for kids of any and all skill levels. And it also provides excellent opportunities to grow interpersonal relationships and nurture family bonds.
Geocaching provides kids of any and all levels of ability an opportunity to succeed and to experience the accomplishment of locating a well hidden cache. No special physical abilities or coordination required.
Many state parks have fun, organized geocaching programs and activities for families. Some may be linked to seasonal events. For examples, check out these programs offered in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Delaware.
Check out this great video from Texas Department of Parks & Wildlife.
2. Catch The Compliment
This is a game that requires very little advance planning or elaborate materials. Various version exist that can be used in a variety of settings.
The traditional version involves a ball. Participants sit or stand in a circle and randomly toss the ball (or bean bag) to someone while stating something that they like about that person. Or, stating something that they think the person catching the ball is good at.
This needs at least three people, but works better when there’s more. It can be played seated or standing depending on the environment. Whether pitching a ball across the yard or rolling a ball across the table, the concept is still the same.
3. Rolling in Admiration
This is essentially a dice-based variant of catch the compliment. Odds are high that you have one or two dice sitting in the home somewhere. You can use it for a game that’s similar to Catch the Compliment. You roll the dice and whatever the number, that’s how many positive things you say about the person next to you. These could be things you admire about their character or personality, or reflections on their past positive actions and activities.
You can alternate going around the circle in different directions. Or, if you have two dice, roll one dice to count off the number of people and the second number to define how many things you have to say.
So, if you rolled a 2 and a 4, you would direct your comments to the person sitting two spots away from you and state 4 things you like, love, admire about them or 4 things you thing they do well.
Fun Storytelling Games to Boost Self Esteem
The process of crafting stories can enhance emotional well-being and reinforce self-esteem. And, experts working with learning differences say that the process of creating stories can help strengthen kids’ cognitive and emotional functioning and reinforce self-esteem.
You have many options for incorporating fun storytelling games that promote self esteem into your game repertoire.
Many of these games you can set up yourself. They require no special equipment or require elements that can easily be made or provided with items you have on hand.
Alternatively, you can find many fun structured storytelling games available for purchase.
4. Campfire Circle/Round Robin
This doesn’t actually require a campfire or even an actual circle. The group playing create a story. This can be based on a theme. Like- focusing on silly and zany or spooky and crazy. Someone kicks off the story and the participants take turns adding to it.
A possible variant on this is to make cards with story cues to help prompt participants. This could be something that’s made in advance. Or, you can incorporate that into the game itself.
Everyone gets a certain number of cards (1-3), and they are instructed to write something on each card. The cards are then shuffled. Each player chooses a certain number and then tells a story that incorporates all of the cue cards. This could be set up as a series of individual stories, or as a connected chain of stories.
Examples of cues: Each person takes three cards and writes down a person, a place and a thing – one on each card. The person could be an actual person or a category – like artist, fire fighter, caped crusader. Likewise, the thing or place could be real or imaginary.
5. Scavenger Hunt Storytelling
This is similar to the Round Robin Campfire Circle above but with a scavenger hunt component. Each person is directed to go find three specific things around the house (or wherever you’re playing). Once all the items are gathered, they are placed in the center of the circle or table. Each person must choose 2 or 3 items (depending on how many were gathered) and incorporate it into a story. You can’t pick items that you chose yourself.
Fun Commercial Games to Boost Self Esteem
Feel like you want something a little more structured? There’s also many storytelling games that you can purchase. These are several popular ones. And they cover a range of ages and complexity.
This is a card-based storytelling game with a competitive element.
It’s a competitive game, but it is based on elements of collaborative play. Players each receive a collection of random cards representing different story elements, characters and plot points, as well as an ending.
Players take turns weaving their elements into the group’s story while trying to direct the story towards the ending card that the player holds. Players can interrupt each other to attempt to hijack the story. The winner is the first player to use all of the story cards they hold including the End card.
This is a non-competitive story came that involves both cards and game pieces. Designed for players of all ages. Players randomly receive a story card that provides the setting and choose items from the story bag that they use to weave their tale.
The game comes with a sizeable number of different game pieces, and you could expand them by including your own special items into the story bag.
One legitimate complaint that has been made about the game is that it lacks any recognition of diversity. The five figurines that represent people all appear to be white. Other game pieces include items such as coiled snake, loaf of bread, treasure chest, rocket ship, marching band drum, spaceship, several different animals, telephone and more.
This game consists of nine oversized dice. The face of each side is imprinted with different pictures representing story elements, for a total of 54 unique images. This game is designed for ages six and above.
The format of the game makes it very compact and portable. So, it’s ideal for travel.
9. ROLL A STORY
This dice-based story telling game is very similar to the Rory’s cubes, but the dice are printed in colors and there are 10 instead of 9. It is also designed to include slightly younger children.
This game set consists of 60 double-sided cards representing 120 unique images. The cards are beautifully illustrated with vibrant colors. The cards fit neatly into a circular tin canister (very similar to Spot-It.) The cards feature a variety of different characters, settings and story elements.
There’s also a Disney Princess version of the game. The Disney version has 100 images based on the different worlds of 11 Disney Princesses. For instance, Jasmine’s magic carpet ride or Belle dancing with her Beast.
Other Fun Board Games that Boost Self-Esteem
There are also some very fun board games that aren’t based on storytelling but that also are designed to promote positive self-esteem. Some of these are modeled on familiar family games like Uno or Jenga.
Children play in teams to cooperatively build a tower. Game play involves answering various question cards that highlight strengths of each player.
Totika is a wood stacking game similar to Jenga. But it also includes question cards that the players use along the way. The colors of the wood planks correspond to different categories of question cards. The cards are designed to promote self esteem and social skills.
This is a conversation based card game. But the cards are designed to have players focus on different positive aspects of the focus player’s personality using animal cards and quality cards.
The game has 80 different animal cards that are each linked to a different specified strength. And the game has an additional 80 quality cards for the possibility of 6400 different combinations.
Players are dealt a set of cards. They choose which cards they think best represent the dealer or the player who is in the focus seat. Players then explain why they chose the cards that they selected. The group decides which combination will be the focus players totem.
This helps kids learn to share and receive praise and compliments with grace. It provides a structured way to share compliments, rather than forcing people to start from a blank slate.