Developing high self esteem for children is part of your duty on this planet; not only as a parent but also as a grandparent, an aunt, an uncle, a teacher, or as a mentor. You see, a child's self esteem is shaped in large part by it's interaction with adults. The more healthy well-rounded adults from which a child can learn, the more probability it has to become a healthy well-rounded adult. Even having just one mentor early in life can make all the difference for a child.
If you've ever been on an airplane, then you know that one of the first things you'll hear from the flight attendant is: "In case of a drop in cabin pressure please place your own oxygen mask over your mouth and nose before assisting any children" The reasoning behind this might seem a little counter-intuitive but it's simple: if the adult passes out, the child is rendered helpless and both parties will suffer. The same holds true in developing high self esteem for children. As an adult you must have your own self esteem in order before you can teach it to the little ones.
Encouraging rational and intelligent thinking skills is a very consistent method of developing self esteem for children. As an adult it becomes very easy to authoritatively inform a child of the right and wrong things to do in life. The problem with this approach is that humans, especially young ones, learn much better from real world experiences and in a trial and error fashion. For this reason, it's extremely important for children to think for themselves and to develop their problem solving skills instead of always having to submit to hard rules and solutions.
Now, this does not mean that children do need boundaries. They do! But, try to allow children the freedom to make a few big independent decisions and then patiently guide them through other possible choices and scenarios until they reach a prudent and rational conclusion that you can both live with. Not only will this develop a child's critical decision making ability and boost their self esteem, it can save you countless hours of frustrating arguments.
Social skills are those skills that allow a kid to initiate, build, and maintain interpersonal relationships with others. If a child's social skills are not properly developed it will lead to difficulties in learning, disciplinary problems, poor self esteem, and eventually, severe depression. Social skills include common acts such as bonding with others, respecting elders, and having a healthy dating life (age dependent of course). Most children learn the necessary social skills simply by observing how others in their environment handle social situations. Some children however, will require a more direct and guided approach to develop the ability to socialize.
A good way to help a socially awkward child is by creating a very firm and confident line of communication. Always make a point to establish strong eye contact and engage the child fully. Speak with sincerity and always make a 100% effort to understand the child's point of view. From there, maintain honest non-judgmental communication and rapport. A calm soothing voice is preferred when giving advice and instruction and a firm serious tone will be appropriate for reprimands and discipline. Insist that your child communicate with confident body posture and make eye contact when speaking to others.
Taking the time to help your child develop the much needed conversation and social skills will pay big dividends in their future. And, if you're ever at a loss when when developing social skills and self esteem for children, remember this little nugget: A young adult with a clear and sound mind and a well-forged sense of identity is your ultimate objective.