How to build a child’s confidence
As soon as a baby is born, they learn new skills at an alarming rate. Along with those new abilities, they also acquire the confidence to use them. As children get older, their confidence is just as important as the skills themselves. They need it to thrive and to trust in their own capabilities while, at the same time, knowing that they can persevere and handle it if they aren’t successful at something straight away. It’s by experiencing mastery and rebounding from failure that they develop healthy self-confidence.
Some ways to help guide your child build self-confidence from a young age are:
Model confidence yourself – children mimic everything you do, they are always watching and learning from you
Don’t get upset about mistakes – everyone makes mistakes and children will as they are learning. If your child gets something wrong or didn’t do the correct way, stay calm and let them know it’s ok and try again together (always keep a calm voice)
Encourage your child to try new things – for example, if your child is old enough let them help you prepare dinner. Give them a board and a knife and with close supervision allow them to help cut vegetables or fruits. Or for a younger child, they may want to walk up 2 steps alone. Let them just stand behind ready to catch them if they fall (you will be surprised how much children can do from a young age if they are given the chance to try)
Celebrate effort – celebrate your child trying; it is very important for them to know its ok to try new things and it will give them the confidence to continue to try new things. For example, let your baby explore their food and make a mess – this is how they feel and taste for the first time it’s a sensory experience for them! For older children, let them try using scissors with supervision and talk about the right and wrong ways of behaving when we are using them so they can start to understand the rules. Remember to praise your child each step of the way J
Embrace imperfection – A good example of this I have seen over the years when I was teaching, parents would ask me why is their child’s art work not perfect and different to what other children have done. As a parent you need to remember that no 2 children are the same and they will all express themselves differently – this is what makes us individual and unique! If your child’s owl is not perfect (eyes in the right place) that’s ok, it’s their work and how they want it to be. Tell your child it is amazing and you love it just the way it is and hang it up somewhere in the house for your family and child to see and enjoy for a few days or more.
Don’t pretend to be perfect as we all know there is no such thing as perfect.
Let your child make some decisions– When your child gets to make some decisions from a young age they gain confidence in their own good judgment. I’m not saying let your child rule the house but allow them a few decisions. For example, what clothes they want to wear that day, shall we walk or ride a scooter to the park, or what vegetables should we have for dinner…just to name a few. Giving them 2 or 3 options a day is more than enough.
Promote Problem Solving – Children are very confident when they are able to negotiate what they want. The key here is to bite your tongue. If your child comes to you and says another child in the class took my toy while at the playground, ask your child what they think is a good way of getting it back. Even if the first idea is taking it back, ask what do they think will happen if they did that. Then ask, ‘can you think of other ways to get it back so that doesn’t happen’? It will take a while for your child to grasp this idea however you are setting them up with a foundation of problem-solving and as they get older your questions will adjust. As always, don’t forget to praise where necessary.
And finally, help your child find their passion through exploring their interests.
As parents we want children to do the same sports we did as a child however your child might not like what you have chosen as it’s your interest and passion. Ask your child what they like and what they want to do. For example, I wanted my daughter to play football however she wants to play ruby and now she is amazing at rugby! My son is 2.5 and he enjoys climbing, jumping, swinging, tumbling, and balancing off everything he can – from looking at what he likes to do, I am putting him into gymnastics so he can learn the safe way to do all these things he loves so much.
“Childhood is a journey, not a race” remember that 🙂
Ensure you spend quality time with your children and have fun with them along the way!