Develop Self-Esteem with Interactive Games

A fun way to build your child's self esteem and respect for others

Schoolchildren (4-5) smiling, close-up after a compliment
Try this interactive game catch the compliment to help develop your child's self esteem and respect for others. Jose Luis Pelaez/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Have you heard of the interactive game "catch the compliment," a fun game that may help you build your child's self-esteem? This quick and easy game helps your child learn to recognize positive qualities in others and gives her the opportunity to hear positive things about herself from others. As a bonus, after teaching you this game we will talk a little about how to truly raise your child's self-esteem. It's not always obvious, and some of the ways parents have been trying to improve their children's self-esteem in recent years may actually do the opposite.

Compliments and Self-Esteem

Giving and receiving compliments is important for all children in developing self-esteem and respect for others. These social skills are especially important for children who are learning disabled or who have other types of learning disabilities.

Later on in this article, we'll talk a little about how to build your child's ego without building an egomaniac Many "self-help" articles you may run across in magazines may actually help to do the latter, so take time to make sure you are truly building your child's self-esteem.

Fortunately, one of the beauties of living with a learning disabled child is that they are less susceptible to the current entitlement trends in society. You can compliment away without your praise literally going to their heads!

One thing that really makes this game different, is that it not only helps to improve your child's self-esteem but helps her to recognize the good in others.

Catch the Compliment Game for Building Self-Esteem and Appreciation

Catch the Compliment is an easy to learn game that can be played with all ages. All you need is yourself and your child and as many or as few other people as you wish to involve.

Difficulty: Easy

Number of Players Required: Whatever you have

Time Required: Whatever you have

Ages: Any

Here's How:

  1. Gather a selection of soft, lightweight balls for the game. Beach balls, foam balls, and soft playground balls may work best. In a stitch, you can even wad up some newspaper or make a ball of tape.
  2. In a large, open area (with breakables removed) gather the players into a circle. You can play inside or outside, it doesn't matter.
  3. Players take turns tossing one ball to different players in the circle. As each toss is made, the tossing player gives the receiving player a compliment.
  4. The receiving player then tosses the ball to someone else, again, giving a compliment as the ball is tossed.
  5. If desired, gradually add more balls as play continues. This will increase the pace and the level of challenge to players as they try to think of compliments to give.
  6. At the end of the game, take time to ask players what was most difficult for them, what was easiest, and what was the funniest thing that happened during the game. Ask players to explain what they had to do to be successful at the game. You will find that listening, looking, thinking, and other skills will be mentioned.

    What You Need:

    • A play space large enough to accommodate the players—breakables removed
    • Various sized soft, lightweight balls

    Make it Your Own:

    • One of the beauties of this game is that you can add new rules or twists in any way you like. Perhaps add a round in which the kids have to give themselves a compliment. Then maybe a round in which they have to say something good or funny about the adults in their midst. Once you have the children talking in this way you can go virtually anywhere with the game. And best of all, having children come up with their own ideas, and trying them out is a self-esteem booster to boost!

    A Note of Caution: As an adult playing this game with your child, try to find compliments that truly fit with your child's personality. For example, don't praise your child for her spelling if she can't spell a single word correctly. Kids can tell the difference between false praise and real praise, and false praise can do the opposite of what it intends. That said, even with the most learning disabled child there is a multitude of compliments that will work to raise her self-esteem. Perhaps she has a beautiful smile. Perhaps she shows remarkable patience. Looking for and finding some of these qualities as a parent of a child with learning disabilities is priceless. Everyone has their strength's and weaknesses, and what may be a huge weakness for you may be one of your child's hidden and beautiful strengths. Because of this, playing this game will probably benefit parents every bit if not more than their children.

    A Word of Caution About Self-Esteem Building

    Before talking more about self-esteem building, it's extremely important to point out a few critical points. In our increasingly narcissistic world, it's important to define exactly what self-esteem is and what it is not. Self-esteem refers to a feeling of self-worth. It does not mean feeling better than or superior to other people.

    In fact, spoiling a child and fostering a sense of entitlement doesn't help build self-esteem at all. If you look around you, the people who feel the most entitled—like the world owes them something—are the least happy of all. As parents of learning disabled children, we can actually learn a lot about self-esteem from our children. How being loved simply for being who they are is more important, and is not dependent on meeting the expectations of others.

    Self-esteem does not always mean winning or accomplishing something. In fact, teaching our kids to learn to live with failure increases self-esteem. Learning to live with failure helps to build empathy, and empathy is the cornerstone of emotional intelligence. If you are already worrying about your child someday entering the workforce, we are hearing that emotional intelligence (EIQ) is likely to be a bigger factor than intelligence (IQ) by the time that day rolls around.

    Building Your Child's Self Esteem

    Cautions spoke, children with learning disabilities often suffer from self-esteem issues. If your child enjoyed this game, you can also teach more ideas for building self-esteem with worksheets and activities.

    Bottom Line

    Try out this game as a way to increase your child's self-esteem and help her to recognize and respect those around her at the same time. Finally, check out ways to build strong self-esteem in your child.

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