What does the word self-esteem mean? Self esteem is how you think and feel about yourself. It’s knowing some of the qualities that make you unique and what you like about yourself. Self esteem influences our behavior. If we have positive self esteem we tend to act responsibly, we can handle lifes frustrations and emotions and we can have pride in our accomplishments.
(Ask students how they think others can add or take away from how you feel about yourself and what can help build or tear down your self confidence).
Activity –Give out the Design Your Own backpack handout.
Everyone should take a minute and think of qualities that they like about themselves that make them unique. Now see if you can design a backpack that reflects those qualities. (Help them with prompts such as “what are some of your talents? What do others like about you?)
Now is the time to let the kids show off their creations and take time to notice the kids that have a difficult time finding good qualities in them- selves. This can be a signal that this kid may need more attention and support.
What we are learning is that how we feel about ourselves is really import- ant and recognizing our feelings about all situations and experiences is also really important. (show emoji card). At this point in our elementary school careers, we should know most of these feelings but, I would like to focus on one, confused or mixed up.
(Show card of girl in house with friend).
We see in this image that a girl was invited to her friend’s house to hang out and do schoolwork. She was really excited to go as she enjoys being with this friend very much. They always have fun together. While she is there her friend’s parents begin to argue. Their voices get louder and even though they are in another room, it is possible to hear what they are saying. What do you think is happening for this girl? (Allow the kids to explore their feelings of being uncomfortable and wanting to leave, but also wanting to hang out with her friend.) What do you think the friend is feeling hearing her parents arguing? (Allow for some answers which could be shame, sadness, anger, wanting to ignore that it’s happening).
Most abuse happens at the hands of someone the child loves and trusts. This can be very confusing for a child because they may really like or even love their abuser, but hate what they are doing to them. The concept of being confused and holding multiple feelings at the same time is really important to communicate to children.
(Show card of classroom) OK, what’s happening here? The teacher is trying to teach and seems like not everyone wants that. (Ask the kids what they think about the self-esteem of the troublemaker kids? Have a discussion around what the kids gain by being disrespectful to the teacher. Point out the kid sitting that is smirking but, not participating). This kid is also experiencing two feelings at the same time. What do you think that is? (Amused by the troublemakers and also wanting to behave. Allow for a discussion around what might be going on for each kid in the classroom, focusing on self-esteem, what they think of themselves and holding multiple feelings, i.e.. You may really like the teacher as a person, but hate the class or the way she’s teaching.)