What you need:
- Popular magazines
- Crayons, markers, and paper
*Adapted from the National Network for Child Care - NNCC. Nuttall, P. (1991). “Self-esteem and children.” (Family Day Care Facts series). Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts.
This is a good activity for older children. The things we see on TV and in magazines have an effect on all of us. In this activity, you can use that effect to help your child feel good about himself. A child who feels good about himself is more likely to see himself in a positive light. He may trust his feelings more easily. He may feel more confident making his own choices.
To help him build a positive image of himself, this activity centers on positive images of African Americans—ones that show African Americans as the strong, smart, beautiful people that they are.
It may be helpful to start this activity during Christmas, Kwanzaa, Black History Month, or birthday celebrations. TV and magazines show more positive images of African Americans during these times, so it’ll be easier for you to find good images for the activity. And, because these holidays show how diverse African Americans are as a people, you can teach your child to value the rich differences within his culture. Point out the outer and inner good, whenever you can.
- Look through magazines or newspapers with your child, or sit with him as he looks on the Internet. You may want to look through magazines or on Web sites that feature African Americans. Help your child cut out or print pictures of African Americans doing good things or acting in positive ways. Have your child make a scrapbook, collage, or presentation of the positive images he finds.
Have your child draw a picture of a person acting in a positive way.
- Ask him why he picked each picture. Help your child come up with one word that describes a positive thing about each picture. If your child is younger, you can write the words below the pictures so they’re easy to remember.
- Ask him which positive words or traits he sees in himself. Ask him why he thinks those things are important. Tell your child why you think positive traits are important.
NOTE TO PARENTS
Low self-esteem puts children at risk* for problems, like doing drugs, drinking alcohol, smoking, getting in trouble, and other things. If your child sees himself in a negative light, he may be less able to say “no” to others, or to stand up for himself. If your child picks out or draws images that make you think he has a poor self image, you may want to ask a counselor, spiritual advisor, or health care provider about how to help him feel better about himself. Go to the Just for Parents section of this book for more details.