How Family Photos Boost Your Child’s Self-Esteem

family photo wall mock up

Displaying family photos on your walls boosts your child’s self-esteem, say what?! That’s right! Displaying photos on your wall is so much more than just decorating your home. Studies on the psychology of family photographs show that displaying family photographs in your home does so much more than make mom and dad happy. They benefit the growth and well-being of our children, and here’s how. 

Displaying family photographs provide your child with a deep sense of belonging

Our clients frequently tell us how their children react to the photographs on their walls. Whether it’s maternity, newborn, or family photos it’s clear to us that kids absolutely love them! There is a pride children have when they see themselves and family in photographs. The foundations of self-esteem are built in the first few months of life when a child’s primary caregivers are present, attentive, attuned and responsive. As a child grows family photos provide them with a deep sense of belonging and can act as a great reminder of the meaning of family and home. Family is a child’s core tribe. Home is a place of comfort, safety, support, and unconditional love. Displaying family photographs reminds your child of where they came from and that they belong here.

“It lets children learn who they are and where they fit” says Judy Weiser, a psychologist, art therapist and author “when a child sees a family portrait with them included in the photograph they say to themselves: ‘these people have me as part of what they are, that’s why I belong here. This is where I come from.’”

Don’t just tell them you’re proud, show them  

Displaying your family photographs shows your children you’re proud of them. Actions are often more powerful than words, afterall. In addition, we are a visual species. We literally have more brain cells dedicated to vision than we do the rest of our four senses. Posting photos of your children online is very different from the experience of having family photos displayed in your home. Privacy, safety, and the personal space of your home create a considerably more meaningful experience. It’s also a completely different sensory experience. The time and effort you put in to displaying family photos is the perfect way to show your kids you love them.

Dr. David Krauss a licensed psychologist from Ohio says ”I think it really important to show a family as a family unit. It is so helpful for children to see themselves as a valued and important part of that family unit. A photographer’s job is to make and create the image to look like a safe holding space for kids where they are safe and protected. Kids get it on a really simple level”

Family wall art is mood boosting

Family photographs are a fantastic mood booster! In fact, they can instantly boost your child’s spirit after a tough day at school. That photograph of love and smiles shining back at them could be just what they need. Family photos can subconsciously act as a reflection of family values and a reminder to cherish and celebrate life. They help children to appreciate the bonds you’ve created with them and help them feel safe, secure, and happy. Lastly, they provide an opportunity to reminisce. As you and your children get older, photos can promote active positive change and increase resilience. Some psychologists even suggest displaying family photos right in your child’s bedroom.

Krauss recommends having photographs of that child with their family placed in the child’s bedroom so it can be among the last things they see before sleep and the first thing they may see before beginning their day. “It says we love you and care about you. You’re important” 

How can photographers help with displaying your photographs?

There is more to displaying photographs than what meets the eye. You’ll want a photographer who delivers more than digital files. Photographers who are properly set up for providing products will take into consideration location and size. For example, there is a photograph from my wedding that I wanted to be enlarged and hung above the couch. Unfortunately, our photographer wasn’t really big on wall art. The photograph was too grainy to enlarge to the size I wanted and over time, I accepted it and moved on. You’ll also want quality products that will last. There are albums out there that will warp and wall art that will fade over the next three years. Make sure to get all the details on what you’re purchasing and how you can care for printed photographs.

More of what the professionals are saying

Dr. David Kraus, founder and director of Mind Positive Parenting says “My bias is very simple. I think they (family photographs) should be on the wall. I think placing a family photo someplace in the home where the child can see it every day without having to turn on a device or click around on a computer to find it really hits home for that child this sense of reassurance and comfort. They have a certainty about them and a protecting quality that nurtures a child. It lets them know where they are in the pecking order and that they are loved and cared for”.

“Displaying photos prominently in the home sends the message that our family and those in it are important to one another, and we honor the memories we have experienced,“ says Cathy Lander-Goldberg, a licensed clinical social worker and a professional photographer in St. Louis, Missouri and the director of Photo Explorations, which offers workshops to girls and women using portrait and journaling for self-reflection.  


Professor Geoff Beattie, Head of School and Dean of Psychological Sciences at the University of Manchester

Dr. David Walsh, founder and director of Mind Positive Parenting