Getting Trophies Raises Self Esteem

This is a guest post.


For most, childhood can be a difficult chapter of life, and a period where positive reinforcement is important. Knowledge and other skills that a child will be able to use for the rest of their life are continually put into practice through trial and error.


A large part of whether someone will have high or low self-esteem throughout their life will be determined by their sense of competence and the appreciation shown for them by others in their childhood. Giving trophies to a child can have lasting positive effects on their achievements, confidence, and sense of self-efficacy.


Children Need to Know They are Appreciated

A child’s self-image is strongly dependent on whether or not they feel accepted and appreciated. We all sometimes fail to recognize our own strong points — no matter how prominent they may be — without recognition from others, and children are no different. With the pressure many kids feel to succeed in school, sports, music, and personal relationships, children have an especially difficult time seeing the qualities that make them so great. Trophies serve as an acknowledgement of a particular skill or aspect of a child’s personality, which helps them to see themselves in a more positive light.


Trophies are Observable Objects to be Proud of

Trophies act as a visual reminder of a quality for which they are admired. When they see their trophy, a child can fondly recall the event, activity, or attribute that earned them such praise. This constant positive reinforcement and sense of pride in a particular skill or trait will help encourage the child to perpetuate and further develop this aspect of their life.


Trophies Inspire a Great Work Ethic

Trophies are not gifts: rather, they need to be earned by putting a particular skill to use. Presenting trophies to a child can be similar to the financial bonuses adults receive in the workforce: both cultivate an understanding of the interplay between hard work and reward, and this can be a valuable lesson for children. Providing trophies as incentives in childhood will help give them an understanding of how their skills can be used to attain profit later on, wisdom necessary for succeeding in their later career path.


Trophies Encourage Children to Achieve Greatness

Everyone, including children, can be motivated to do their best with a little competition. When aiming for a trophy, and competing with other children, a child will have motivation and incentive to put their best foot forward. Instilling ambition during childhood and developing one’s desire to try their hardest are qualities that will stick with a child throughout their academic path, in their later professional career, and with their personal relationships throughout the course of their life.


Glass awards and plaques will help change a child’s self-esteem for the better, encourage further development in a skill or quality that they have pride in. It will also strengthen their desire to be the best person they can be.


I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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  1. I tell my daughter every day how great she is.

  2. I still have my first trophy and my husband has his first trophy on the mantle!

  3. I think trophies are great and they do help self esteem. However sometimes I feel trophies are given out so willingly that sometimes they lose their effectiveness.

    • I’m with Colleen – trophies are great when you earn them. But when they’re given out for participation so a kid doesn’t feel bad they didn’t win… I draw the line. I want to avoid my child learning that you can be rewarded for simply showing up.

  4. Makes sense. Stickers worked for us for potty training!

  5. My daughter loves getting appreciated for her hard work

  6. I agree that trophies can be a great visual reminder of a child’s achievements. My son still has a few from when he played youth sports.

  7. I think the whole point of a trophy gets lost when they are given to all children for the sake of not damaging anyone’s self-esteem.

  8. My kids are so proud when they receive recognition for their hard work. I agree that positive reinforcement can definitely be a great tool to help kids.

  9. My daughter used to be in a chess club, and even though that was five years ago, she still proudly displays her trophies in her room!

  10. I love the idea of trophies when they are earned. But once everyone gets them just for the sake of making sure no one is left out, they lose their specialness.

  11. I love the idea of trophies when they are earned.

  12. My son sure was proud when he earned his soccer trophy at the end of his class. It was nice to see him to happy about his accomplishments.

  13. This is so true. Without encouragement and love, self-esteem suffers. Kids love getting a trophy when they work hard and earn it.

  14. Trophies are great! Our boys have a couple from baseball and they LOVE them!

  15. I still have my trophies from when I was in middle and high school. Even now, 20 years later I still have a sense of pride when I look at them. I am excited for my kdis to get into sports and get their own trophies.

  16. Positive reinforcements definitely yields positive results! I need to remember this more often.

  17. It’s very true that trophies do give kids a self esteem boost, but I like to give them trophies when they do something good. Not just for when they win something.

  18. My parents sill have all of my swimming trophies from when I was little.

  19. Trophies are most definitely for great self esteem and drive boosters but I do not like them given to everyone. They lose all importance at that point. My kids are proud of the trophies they earned the ones that everyone gets for participation are not as important or meaningful to them though and therefore do nothing to improve the child. It’s no different than being an adult and getting a raise or a reward for doing a good job at work. To give children the idea that just showing up should be rewarded is wrong for their future development. They need to understand to excel at something you need to work hard and then be recognized and rewarded.

  20. Yes trophies are great for self esteem!! I still have many boxes full of them from all my years of gymnastics. I can’t let them go because they mean a lot to me!

  21. I don’t think I’ve every gotten a trophy in my life. I never participated in activities for which you could earn trophies. I kind of wish that I had.

    My son got his first trophy over the summer (at 4 years old) – it was a “participation” trophy. He thought it was cool, but forgot about it quickly, However, he is still proud of the short note he got from his pre-k teacher telling him he did a great job on something at school – he got that weeks ago.

    It seems that even kids know that trophies really should be earned.

  22. I remember participating in dance competitions when I was young and how awesome I would feel when I would win a trophy or just get one for participating.

  23. While I agree with this, I think that people just hand out trophies to everyone for everything. Every child gets a trophy in baseball and soccer regardless of personal achievement or team achievement. How is that teaching them to strive for excellence?!

  24. I think my kids would love getting a trophy as a reward for good behavior or outstanding grades. Cute idea!

  25. My kids started playing sports when they were 3 and would receive trophies that we parents paid for, not for winning, but for participation – that I find absurd and apparently my opinion is not the majority. Trophies/awards are not to celebrate mediocrity but to celebrate excellence. Build esteem by celebrating what they are awesome at, otherwise it’ll build a sense of entitlement.
    my two cents 🙂
    Thanks for sharing a great and thought provoking article!!

  26. I think everyone likes acknowledgement for their hard work and if a trophy does it, that’s fantastic!

  27. I always felt being acknowledged encouraged children in a positive way, whether with trophies, praise, or certificates

  28. I think it is nice to see kids get rewarded for a job well done, whether that is a trophy, praise or some other form.

  29. I love this, and I think you’re absolutely right. It’s part of the learning process, and my kids are always so proud to get a trophy even if they’re not the best on the team!

  30. I’m not a big fan of trophies. I think that if you truly earn one, then it can be a good thing, but with the way they’ve been handed out, I think they’ve lost their value.