How Can Play Therapy Help with a Child’s Self-Esteem?

It’s often easy to assume that children naturally have high self-esteem. After all, at such a young age, what could possibly bring them down, right? 

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. There are plenty of life circumstances that can impact a child’s self-esteem, from bullying at school to tough situations at home. It’s just as easy for a child to lose confidence in themselves as it is for an adult. 

But, traditional talk therapy isn’t always the best solution for kids with low self-esteem. They might not be able to fully process their emotions or be able to express them to a therapist. 

Thankfully, play therapy is an effective solution that works with your child’s natural instincts, and can help to boost their self-esteem. Let’s dig a little deeper into why it’s such a viable option. 

What Is Play Therapy? 

As you might expect, play therapy is a way for children to express themselves and their feelings by doing something that comes naturally — playing. 

Children can’t always fully understand or express big emotions verbally. But, they can do it through various forms of play, essentially communicating what they’re feeling or going through without actually having to say the words. 

A trained play therapist can observe and interpret themes in a child’s play as a means of communication. 

There are several different types of play therapy. Child-centered play therapy involves following a child’s lead and tracking their behaviors. Directive play gives the therapist a bit more “control” as they guide the child through different types of play and situations. 

Therapists can use toys, art, music, sand, and even pretend play to help a child process their emotions. That’s why play therapy is helpful for things like anxiety, depression, grief, and even self-esteem. 

How Play Therapy Helps to Build Confidence

If a child feels disconnected from the world, or even from certain people, it can be a huge blow to their self-esteem. Play therapy can combat that in several ways. 

First, it helps them recognize that someone is willing to get on their level. When a therapist involves themselves in play with the child, it can create a strong connection and let the child know they are being heard and valued. That, alone, can boost their self-esteem. 

Second, it allows that child to feel more in control. They might not know how to express what they’re feeling through words or other actions, but when they become a master of certain toys, art projects, or activities in play therapy, their confidence will grow a bit each time. 

Finally, play therapy allows the therapist insight into what might be causing a child’s low self-esteem, to begin with. That makes it easier to develop a treatment plan that fits the needs of each individual child, instead of assuming some kind of blanket treatment works best. 

This type of therapy can also improve social skills and help with certain types of development, which are also confidence boosters for most kids. 

Can Play Therapy Help Your Child? 

Play therapy is a fantastic solution for kids who might be struggling with anxiety, depression, or self-confidence issues. It’s not easy to see your child think they are somehow “less” than their peers or hear them express that they aren’t happy with who they are. 

When you set up an appointment for your child to experience play therapy, not only will you learn what might be the source of those issues, but you can have peace of mind in knowing they can be overcome. 

Self-esteem problems don’t have to be permanent. Taking the time to help your child’s self-esteem now can encourage them to be strong, healthy, confident adults in the future. 

Don’t hesitate to reach out to learn more about play therapy.