18 ways to boost your child’s confidence
Have you stopped to think for a second about where the word confidence comes from? It derives from the verb to confide – which means "to trust, to rely on with faithfulness". But how do we learn how to be confident?
Confidence is believing in yourself and your abilities. It is feeling ready and willing to try new things as well. Being confident means you accept yourself and you feel positive about yourself just the way you are.
Being confident, though, is a task that sometimes seems very difficult, especially for children. Some of the obstacles on their way to good self-esteem are comparison with others, fear, doubt in their capabilities and failure.
As parents and teachers, one of our main roles is to help children develop their confidence growing up by showing them ways to recognize their abilities and to grow in them. This way they can learn how to best use and develop them along the way. This is one of the main ways to help kids become strong, adaptive and successful grownups.
Our selection today gives you a great toolkit of actions to ensure your children/students are growing up confident and happy about themselves. Read on to get our ideas and do not hesitate to share yours so that we can enrich the list and learn from each other’s experiences.
1. Provide constant and unconditional love
The first and undoubtedly most important thing you can do for your children is to make them feel they are loved wholeheartedly and unconditionally. This is a major role of the family and by doing this only, you will create a solid foundation for your child to be calm and secure.
2. Spend quality time with them
Spending quality time with children can be very challenging in stressful and busy lives. Still, taking just 15 minutes of interrupted time focused solely on your children and your connection with them could be a true game-changer in the way they feel about themselves.
Put your phone away, and put any thoughts about dinner, tomorrow’s schedule and the grocery list away and just be with your child for a while. Let them lead this time in regards to what they want to talk about our do. Let them notice your attention is fully directed towards them. Make this a daily habit. You will never regret the time you spend and your children will be always remembering these precious moments.
3. Stop comparing them to others
It is important to encourage competition in your children but constant comparison with their siblings is not helpful. If you have more than one child, make sure you treat them as separate individuals and help them realize that they don't have to have the same skillset as their siblings. Every person has their own strengths and as Albert Einstein once wisely said “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” So try judging your kids only compared to themselves and their wishes and capabilities.
4. Stop rescuing your child
We have a point here for the helicopter parents that are oftentimes tempted to give their children more help and support than they actually need. Even if the kid’s in trouble, make sure you give them the space to take care of the situation themselves. Trust their abilities so that they can find out how best to solve their problems.
5. Avoid labelling
Talking to your kids, try to talk to them about their behavior without putting a label on their personality. “That was unkind sentence to tell your grandpa” makes a completely different and better statement than “You were rude when speaking to your grandpa earlier today”.
6. Give them age-appropriate tasks to be responsible for
Children need to feel appreciated and trusted. Giving them tasks that are their own responsibility will make them feel proud and capable. It will also give them the space they need to learn time and task management. It could be a simple task like putting away their own laundry, or doing the dishes with you. It needs to be a task that is well communicated as their responsibility.
7. Ask for their opinion and advice (and do consider it)
Just like giving your kids rights and responsibilities, asking for their opinion on a regular basis will make them feel important and valuable. They will get used to the fact that their thoughts and opinions matter and they will also learn how to argue and defend them when needed.
8. Let them make their choices
Being a parent often means taking decisions for your children. But it also means letting them learn how to make their choices within reason and letting them make important decisions in their life as well. While it may be hard for us to start doing that while they are young, it will become even harder if we wait until they grow older. That’s why it’s better if you give your kids the opportunity to make their choices in a safe and secure environment when they are younger so that they can do it more confidently as adults. Choosing what to wear for the day may sound simple but is a great start to this process.
9. Don’t get upset about mistakes
By not overreacting to mistakes that you make, you will more readily teach your children that making mistakes is a normal part of everyday life. By helping them to see that you make mistakes, seeing how you work through them, will help them learn and grow through their own inevitable mistakes.
10. Give them tools to overcome fear or failure
Let them know what you do to feel better when you do not succeed in something important to you. Share your stories and work together on ways to cope with fear and failure. Help them face fears and let them help you face yours. Keep the communication open when something goes wrong, discuss what’s happened and look for different ways to do it better next time.
11. Be a role model for confidence and problem solving
Even if it is hard for you, try to set a good example when dealing with difficult situations. Acknowledge feelings of fear and anxiety, but try not to overly focus on them. Share possible solutions for the problem at hand. Elicit their input on how to best deal with situations that are within their reach of problem solving.
12. Praise them for their efforts, not for their results
Celebrating accomplishments is wonderful, but what really benefits children is for them to know that the work they put in to the task at hand is what really matters and is noticed accordingly. Reaching a goal is something that needs to be celebrated but talking about how they persevered will make children know that even if they didn’t achieve what they wanted, they did their best and that’s what makes them successful and appreciated.
13. Work on their emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence is scientifically proven to be even more important for our success as grownups than cognitive intelligence. Learning how to recognize their feelings and learning how to manage their emotions is a crucial skill that should start in their younger years. It’s never too early to start talking about emotions with your children by discussing possible reactions to their emotions expressed and learning how to be in better control in every situation. Having these discussions will help them to best understand what they are feeling and find the best ways to manage it all.
14. Help them create their boundaries
Respecting yourself is one of the most basic things in life to be confident and get others to respect you as well. And what comes along with respecting yourself is knowing and setting your own boundaries. This is something you should start teaching your kids just as early as you start teaching them how to walk and talk so that it gets deeply engraved in their personality development. Show them your boundaries and teach them to respect them. But just as importantly, make sure you notice their boundaries and respect them yourself.
15. Teach them self-care – exercise, good food, tight sleep
Taking care of yourself also goes hand-in-hand with self-respect and confidence so setting a good example with your own health habits is very important. Exercising together, preparing healthy meals and getting adequate sleep are life long habits are best taught at an early age.
16. Look for ways to help others – show and promote empathy
One way to grow confidence in children is to model helping others around them that are in need. Teaching your kids how to recognize others’ troubles and identify ways to provide support will constantly make them feel valuable and worthy.
17. Encourage curiosity, trying out new things and developing new skills
Curiosity that is encouraged in a child a great way to develop confidence.. Curiosity is such a powerful tool for children. We need to make sure we find ways to develop it by encouraging your children to ask questions, try new things, research interesting topics and go anywhere curiosity leads them.
18. Navigate kids and help them find their passions and interests
As parents and teachers, we are often the ones to notice special talents and interests in our children early in their development. Recognizing these talents and interests and encouraging our children to pursue them is an important task that will help them grow and mature in their gifts.
As a bonus, we are sharing with you a short but powerful video you can play for your kids/students (and yourself) today.