Unlock Your Child’s Inner Strengths [+ Free Strengths Cards]

Written by Dr Lucy Russell DClinPsyc CPsychol AFBPsS
Dr Lucy Russell Clinical Psychologist Founder of They Are The Future
Author: Dr Lucy Russell, Clinical Psychologist

As parents, we all want our young people to grow up confident and capable, with a strong sense of personal strengths and a positive attitude towards their abilities. One tool that can help cultivate awareness of strengths is through the use of strengths cards.

These cards provide a range of ways to help children identify and develop their personal strengths. This can lead to many positive outcomes including to better performance and a more optimistic outlook on life. I use the strengths cards in therapy sessions regularly. For me, they are an essential resource for building self-esteem and resilience.

In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of using strengths cards with your children and how they can help them build a strong foundation for a successful future. Also included is a free strengths cards printable download!

a strengths card: I am brave

The 24 Character Strengths

Positive psychology research has identified 24 character strengths that are essential to human flourishing. These strengths are grouped into six broad categories: wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, and transcendence.

Strength cards, based on the VIA Character Strengths framework, are a great resource for parents and teachers looking to identify and cultivate their children’s strengths. Using these cards, children can gain a deeper understanding of their unique qualities and how to use them to improve their lives.

How Strengths Cards Can Help Your Child Build Self-Esteem

Building a child’s self-esteem is crucial to their overall well-being and happiness. One great way to accomplish this is by using strengths cards to help children identify and appreciate their unique qualities. Help your child name and explore their unique strengths. Children who have a solid understanding of their own abilities and how they can use them go on to lead happy and purposeful lives.

teen boy using a laptop computer whilst lying on a sofa

My free strengths cards give you a fun and interactive way for children to discover new ways to express and apply their strengths. When a child is able to name the strength they possess, they can begin to see themselves in a more positive light, building their confidence and self-worth.

Download Your Strengths Cards PDF Here

Here is your strengths cards free download!

10 Creative Ways to Use Your Strengths Cards

1. Strengths Matching Game

Lay out all the strengths cards on a table or the floor. Ask your child to try to match each strength with a pre-prepared description of that strength. For example, “I am a leader” could be matched with “I can take charge and make decisions”.

2. Strengths Collage

Give your child a piece of paper and ask them choose 3-5 strength cards that resonate with them. Next, they can cut out pictures or words from magazines that represent each strength and create a collage.

close up of young boy's face, happy, thoughtful

3. Strengths Bingo

Create a bingo board with different strengths listed in each square. Call out different strengths at random and ask children to mark off each strength they have on their board. Afterwards, talk through why they feel they have each strength.

4. Strengths Role Play

Assign each child a strength card (or play with one adult and one child). The first person acts out a situation where they would use that strength. For example, if a child is assigned the strength of “kindness,” they could act out a scene where they help a friend who is feeling sad. Then move on to the next person.

strengths card: I am curious

5. Strengths Reflection Journal

In a notebook or journal, support your child to choose a strength card to reflect on each day. Encourage them to write about how they used that strength in their daily life and how it made them feel.

6. Strengths Interview

Ask your child to choose a strength card. Then they will interview a family member or friend about a time when they displayed that particular strength. Encourage the child to ask follow-up questions and take notes on the person’s responses. This would make a great project for the school holidays.

child outdoors writing, sitting between two grandparents

7. Strengths Top 10 List

Have your child choose their top 10 strength cards and create a list. Then, have them explain why each strength is important to them and how they can use those strengths to achieve their goals.

8. Strengths Charades (Drawing Edition)

Play this game with your child or in a small group. The first person chooses a strength card and then draws a picture that represents that strength. The pair or other members of the group try to guess the name of the strength being drawn.

strengths card: I am energetic

9. Strengths Storytelling

Ask your child to choose a strength card and then create a story that involves that strength. Encourage them to think creatively and use their imagination to come up with a unique and engaging story.

Strengths Cards at School and Home

If you’re a parent, why not share this article with your child’s teacher, so they can experiment with the strengths cards in the classroom? If you’re a teacher, you could put this article link on your school’s resources page, so parents can download a copy of the strengths cards for home use!

strengths card: I am helpful

Why A Strengths-Based Approach?

A strengths-based approach to personal development focuses on identifying and nurturing a few positive character traits that are most important to us. Along with identifying and acting on their values, this helps children to build a strong sense of identity.

While it may be tempting to try to cultivate all of the positive character traits included in a set of cards, it can be overwhelming and ultimately counterproductive. We can’t be all of them. For example, we don’t all need to be leaders!

By helping your child focus on building just a few positive character traits, we can help them direct their time and energy towards developing those strengths to their fullest potential. This not only leads to better performance and achievement but also helps children build a sense of purpose and meaning in their lives. In short, a strengths-based approach to personal development allows us to concentrate on what really matters, leading to greater success and life satisfaction.

strengths card: I am friendly


Strengths cards are a flexible tool for parents to help their children develop positive character traits. They enable children to identify their strengths and how to apply them to their daily lives.

Strengths cards can be used in many creative ways, school or at home. A strengths-based approach helps children focus positive character traits and develop them to their fullest potential, to build confidence, resilience, and purpose.

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Dr Lucy Russell is a UK clinical psychologist who works with children and families. Her work involves both therapeutic support and autism assessments. She is the Clinical Director of Everlief Child Psychology, and also worked in the National Health Service for many years. In 2019 Lucy launched They Are The Future, a support website for parents of school-aged children.

Through TATF Lucy is passionate about giving practical, manageable strategies to parents and children who may otherwise struggle to find the support they need.

Lucy is a mum to two teenage children. She lives in Buckinghamshire with her husband, children, rescue dog and three rescue cats. She enjoys caravanning and outdoor living, singing and musical theatre.

Join They Are The Future’s free Facebook group for regular tips and great ideas to support teens and pre-teens with their mental health! Join the group: Parent Tips for Positive Child Mental Health UK.

parent tips for positive mental health facebook group