Confidence Building Activities for Kids
Confidence is when you feel positive about your ability to perform a task and succeed, and confidence is different from self-esteem, which is how you feel about yourself in general.
While confidence and self-esteem can be related, they aren’t always, and that’s important to remember. For example, you may feel confident in your ability to get a good grade on a test but still have low self-esteem.
Ultimately, confidence is a state-of-mind and one that is hugely beneficial to your thinking and behavior. Confidence makes you feel good about trying new things and challenging yourself. Even if you don’t always succeed, confident people aren’t afraid to try new things.
According to psychologists
, below are some of the actions you can take to raise confident kids.
Encourage Your Kids
The definition of encouragement is to give someone support, confidence, or hope. Encouragement comes in many forms.
Ways to Encourage
- Appreciate the effort that they put into completing a task, regardless of whether they succeed or fail.
- Inspire them to practice and improve different skills.
- Take an interest in their hobbies or activities.
- Spend quality time with them.
- Be specific with your praise.
- Never compare them to others.
- Always show unconditional love.
Examples of encouraging statements are phrases like:
- “You kept practicing and didn’t give up. You must feel so proud you finished that!”
- “How did you learn to do that?”
- “I love the colors you used in this painting. Why did you choose these?”
- “All you can do is try your best.”
- “I know this isn’t how you hoped it would turn out, but we learn from our mistakes.”
When you speak encouraging words, you are embedding words and phrases that will make up your child’s positive self-talk later in life. Positive self-talk
is extremely powerful—experts say 90% of a person’s “happiness” is related to their general outlook on life.
Encouragement is different than praise, and most experts warn against overly “praising” children.
“Praise evaluates the outcome of your child’s action: ‘Good job!’ It doesn’t give the child much information about what was good about what he did, or why you think it was good, and it teaches the child to rely on external sources to evaluate him,” says Laura Markham Ph.D. in Psychology Today.
Let Kids Solve Their Problems
From an early age, set up situations where your kids can do things on their own.
Would your child like lunch? Great, show her how to make a sandwich and then let her make it. Supervise and always make sure the situation is safe, but if she gets jam all over the counter, let it be. Don’t step in and take over. Show her how to clean up the jam when she’s done. What your child learns is that she must be competent, because you aren’t taking over for her.
Remember, nothing needs to be perfect. Perfection isn’t an attainable goal for any of us. Resist the temptation to “fix” or “improve” your child’s tasks, and they’ll learn to do it themselves.
Same goes if your child is struggling with a problem at school or with a coach. Don’t immediately jump in to rescue them from their difficulty. Instead, ask your child questions about how he might be able to solve the problem on his own. Coach him through the process of coming up with a suitable solution.
“Kids are confident when they’re able to negotiate getting what they want,” says Myrna Shure, Ph.D., in a Parents.com
Kids also need to know that it is okay to fail, and it is normal to feel sad, anxious, or angry sometimes—this is how they learn to overcome obstacles.
Challenge Your Kids
Give your child age-appropriate jobs around the house from an early age. Feeling like a contributing member of the household is important in building confidence. Chores such as setting the table, dusting, sweeping, and doing dishes are all appropriate.
Also, allow your child make age-appropriate decisions such as what to wear, what to eat for breakfast, or what game to play.
Encourage your children to try new things: sports, games, hobbies. This way you are heling your children discover their interests and passions. If a child is interested and passionate in an activity, they will be more likely to excel at it, and when they excel, they will gain confidence in their abilities.
Let Them Play
Study after study shows that unstructured playtime is crucial for childhood development.
The American Academy of Pediatrics published a clinical report called The Power of Play
, stating that the importance of playful learning for children cannot be stressed enough. Play is brain building, a central part of healthy child development, a key to executive function skills, and a buffer against the negative impacts of stress.
Play encourages your child’s curiosity and allows them to solve problems they may not otherwise have had the opportunity to do. They will have to be resourceful and creative.
If you join in your child’s play, you send them a message that they are important and worthy of your time, which further increases their confidence.
Teach by Example
Finally, teach by example. You are your child’s best role model, so if you want to raise a confident child, you need to learn to be confident in yourself.
Don’t berate yourself out loud when something doesn’t go right. Don’t criticize yourself. Don’t compare yourself to other people.
Improve your confidence by trying new activities that are outside of your comfort zone.
Help your kids see that everyone makes mistakes. Everyone fails sometimes. What is important is that we learn from our mistakes, and we never let fear get in the way of trying.