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How to discuss the importance of self-esteem with your pupils

Young people are constantly exposed to images depicting unrealistic appearance ideals which can leave them feeling insecure about the way they look and the clothes that they wear. It can be hard for them to escape these influences when living in a connected digital world.

Before your pupils can get to grips with why self-esteem is important, they will need to understand what a healthy self-esteem looks like.

We can look at self-esteem as what you think of yourself, this includes how you feel about your abilities and limitations. A young person with a healthy self-esteem will feel good about themselves and feel they deserve the respect of others. Those with low self-esteem may not value their own opinions and ideas.

Quick class activity

Talk to pupils about the definition of a healthy self-esteem. Ask them to write down a list of five things they think they are good at and that they like about themselves.

It’s a good idea to help pupils to shift away from too much body talk. Even seemingly positive comments about appearances from fellow pupils such as 'You lost weight!’ or ‘You dress really well now!’ can still have negative effects as it can make pupils put a lot of emphasis on the way they look.

The free resources from the Dove Self-Esteem Project can help make sure that pupils are equipped with the skills needed to become more confident and feel better able to cope with the challenges of peer pressure and appearance ideals that they face.

The free, interactive workshops can be carried out with pupils on topics including exploring the concept of appearance ideals and how they have changed over time, using critical thinking skills to interpret media messages and how to avoid unhelpful comparisons.

Download your free teaching resources here. 

The free Uniquely Me parent guide is packed with much more advice and some practical activities to help support you with boosting your child’s body confidence and self-esteem.


This downloadable pdf contains expert advice from Dove Self-Esteem Project global experts from the fields of psychology, body image, self-esteem, eating disorders and media representation to create a resource for parents that is focused on advice and action.

Read, download or print the free Uniquely Me parent guide