The 5 Best Techniques for Boosting Your Kids’ Confidence
Build your child’s confidence with these tips.
Confidence is the feeling or belief that you can rely on someone or something. Having this firm trust in yourself means you have self-confidence. Many adults and children struggle with a lack of self-confidence or low self-esteem due to their genes, cultural background, childhood experiences, and other life circumstances. Here are five techniques parents can use to help their kids build confidence and raise self-esteem:
1. Encourage your children
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
- “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 develop 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.
2. Let children solve problems
From an early age, set up situations in which your kids can do things on their own. This can be as simple as having your child make their own lunch. You should supervise and make sure the situation is safe, but try not to step in.
For example, if your child makes a sandwich and gets jelly all over the counter, don’t step in and take over. Instead, show your child how to clean it up on their own. This teaches kids to solve problems and reassures them that they can handle the situation, thus boosting their self-confidence.
Remember, nothing needs to be perfect. Perfection isn’t an attainable goal for anyone. Resist the temptation to “fix” or “improve” your child’s tasks, and they’ll learn to do it themselves. The 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 or she might be able to solve the problem on their own. Coach your children 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 article.
Children also need to know that it’s okay to fail, and it’s normal to feel sad, anxious, or angry at times— that’s how they learn to overcome obstacles, which also helps boost confidence.
3. Challenge your children
Give your child age-appropriate jobs around the house from an early age. Feeling like a contributing member of the household is important to building confidence. Chores such as setting the table, dusting, sweeping, and doing dishes are all appropriate activities. You should also allow your child to make age-appropriate decisions such as what to wear, what to eat for breakfast, or what game to play.
Challenge your children to try new things like sports, games, or hobbies. This will help your kids discover their interests and passions. If a child is interested and passionate in an activity, they will be more likely to succeed at it, and when they succeed, they will gain confidence in their abilities.
4. Let children 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 have had the opportunity to otherwise. They will have to be resourceful and creative. Additionally, 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.
5. Teach by Example
Finally, teach by example. You are your child’s number one 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 goes wrong, don’t criticize yourself, and don’t compare yourself to other people. You can also improve your self-confidence by trying new activities that are outside of your comfort zone. Help your kids understand that believing in yourself is key to building confidence.