I worked with tween girls for years before I ever became a mom and started building my own daughter’s self-esteem.
That age, right around 9 and 10 is such a critical time in a girl’s life.
Up until that age, life is easy.
Everybody plays together.
Nobody really cares what other kids are wearing or what they look like.
Birthday party invites go out to every child in the class.
Once kids hit 4th grade, things started to change, especially with the girls.
They’re getting older and they are starting to discover who they really are and what’s important to them.
Instead of everyone playing together, girls with similar interests start to hang out a lot.
They start to look at other kids differently and maybe start to have feelings for them in new way that’s unfamiliar and new to them.
How to build your daughter’s self-esteem
As our daughters get older, we have to do more to support them in feeling good about themselves.
We have to help build our daughter’s self-esteem.
When my daughter was a tiny girl, I could just tell her she looked pretty in her dress and she would beam, twirling and sashaying for the rest of the day.
Now, she needs more substantial support.
Here are some of the easy, real ways I build my daughter’s self-esteem and confidence:
1. Do things for her.
I like to volunteer a lot for activities that will benefit my daughter.
From Girl Scout co-leader to volleyball coach, I’ve stepped up my support game because I know that it will let her know that she’s important and worth it.
2. Do things with her.
My daughter and I enjoy going to the movies and plays together.
We plan trips, play games, bake, and watch episodes of “The Office” every single night together.
When I spend quality time with her actually doing things, she has a safe space to learn how to engage and interact in different settings and situations.
Confidence comes from doing.
Read: How To Connect With Your Tween Daughter
3. Have real conversations with her.
I’ve started to have real (age appropriate—I don’t dump on her) talks with my daughter about my hopes and dreams for myself and our family.
If I’m excited about something, or feeling frustrated, or sad, I share my feelings with her.
I also share affirmations with her and let her know she’s loved.
She is able to see that it’s normal to have different emotions, and I’m modeling to her how important it is to talk about what you’re feeling.
4. Share your interests with her.
Of course I’m all up in my daughter’s activities, but I also share my activities with her.
She helps me with my photography and my business.
I’ll talk to her about a book I’m reading.
By treating her like a real person who I care enough about to talk to about things other than just regular “mommy” stuff, it helps her to see herself as an important person as well.
5. Ask her for help.
I ask my daughter for help all the time.
Once every couple of weeks, I’ll ask her to make dinner for the family, or take care of her little brother.
When I had an event for my business recently, I had her come and spend the day with me and help set up and keep things rolling.
Sometimes we’re afraid to give our kids responsibility, but when we do, it shows them that they are capable of doing things.
That’s a surefire way to build their esteem.
6. Listen to her.
My daughter is willing to tell me anything about everything as long as I’m listening.
Even if your daughter isn’t a Chatty Cathy, there are sure to be times when she is open to sharing with you.
That’s when you listen.
Instead of feeling like I have to use every conversation for a teachable moment or center myself in her experiences, I often just sit back and listen.
I’ll ask questions to make sure she knows I’m truly interested in what she’s sharing, and will bring the conversation up later, too.
Knowing that what she has to say is worthy of your undivided attention plants a seed in your girl to know that she is important and that her story matters.