Self-confidence in a child plays a crucial role in their future happiness, health, and success. A child that is confident is better equipped to handle peer pressure, take on responsibilities, manage frustrations, and deal with emotions.
Something that plays a fundamental part in your child's developing confidence, is you.
But don’t worry, building their confidence can be fun and simple if you have the right tools to help you.
From the very beginning, children learn new abilities, and these skills require a dose of self-confidence for them to rebound from failure and master it. Here are 12 ways to help your child build their confidence:
- Encourage Mindfulness Practice
Mindfulness is something that needs to be practised. Society has taught us to focus on what’s happening next rather than being present in the moment. Adding mindfulness as a daily tool creates a calmer state of mind and is a way to pay attention to our lives without worrying about what’s next. Slowing down helps adults and children to make better decisions and feel more confident in the choices we make. This benefits your child’s mind and body and supports self-confidence. For ways to build mindfulness in your child, try incorporating mindful games and activities into daily play.
- Practice Positive Self-Talk
It’s common for both adults and children to engage in negative self-talk. By modelling your own self-talk, you teach your child to talk to themselves with respect and love. Modelling mistakes about the way you’ve talked to yourself and correcting this is a great way to help them be more mindful about how they are talking to themselves.
- Improve Your Own Confidence
If you’re lacking confidence in yourself, now is the time to pull yourself up. It’s easy to put yourself down or not attempt new things because you’re not feeling confident enough to do them, but guess what, your child will notice no matter how much you think you’re hiding it. It’s time to be more self-aware and make the changes so your child stops heading down the same path.
- Ask Them for Their Opinion
When a child is asked for their opinion, it not only develops their confidence but also develops a sense of belonging, a sense of value, and builds trust between you and them. Asking their thoughts or opinions on a situation you’ve experienced will not only have them help you to problem-solve your concern but give them the skills to independently problem-solve their own experiences as they arise.
- Teach them the Power of Setting Goals
Teach your child to set realistic goals that challenge them. This will help them feel more capable and build their confidence in their ability to achieve things.
- Encourage Them to Join a Social Group
Joining a social group that interests them is a great way for them to boost their confidence. Not only will they meet new people, but they will experience new things that can challenge them. Joining a drama club, for example, will teach them to speak confidently in front of others, make fun of themselves and expand their comfort zone.
- Let Them Overhear You Speaking Positively About Them
This is a great way to build their confidence and increase their self-worth. On the phone or in front of family and friends, ‘accidentally’ let them hear you talk about their achievements, their ability to help around the house and complete chores, and how proud you are of them for their efforts in general. Sometimes children can be suspicious of direct praise, so this is a way to give praise that is believable without it being direct.
- Hang Their Work Around Home
Hanging their artwork and family portraits around the house can increase your child’s confidence. It gives your child a sense of belonging, acceptance and love that will increase their self-esteem.
- Encourage them to Express Themselves
Criticising or overlooking a child’s emotions or feelings can be damaging to their confidence. Children need to feel heard to be able to express their feelings and emotions in a healthy way. When a child has a meltdown, it can be because they don’t feel heard. Instead of putting them in time out, be a calm and steady presence and get down on their level. Show that you are actively listening by sharing eye contact and facing them. This alone can help them to calm down, but it may take some time and patience first.
- Nurture their Interests
Exposing your child to a range of activities can encourage them to find something they really enjoy. Children who have a passion feel proud of their achievements and expertise in their chosen interests. This nurtures their self-confidence and sets them up to be successful in other areas of their life as they grow.
- Look to Help Others
When children feel confident in their own abilities, they often begin to feel confident in helping others in areas they may not feel as confident in. Children feel good when they help to make a difference, and this starts with giving them responsibilities at home. Having your child help you with specific projects can also empower their confidence.
- Encourage his Fantasies about the Future
Children often dream about what they’re going to be when they grow up. Do something with them that supports their interest in that field. If they like animals, take them to the zoo. If they like dinosaurs, learn about fossils together. Even if they change their mind, it’s important that they are thinking about their goals and that you’re supporting their dreams. This gives them the confidence to learn and fantasise about whatever interests them.
Practising mindfulness and positive self-talk are great ways to help your child start to strengthen their self-confidence. But the moment you improve your own self-confidence is the moment you start to see it reflected in your child. You can’t expect your child to have confidence in themselves when you don’t, so being aware of your own self-talk is important. Asking for their thoughts on things will help them to feel important and backing this up by talking positively about them to others will build their self-worth. Encouraging them to express themselves, set goals and enjoy their interests will not only help them to further develop their own confidence, but they will in turn have the confidence to help others. Implementing these effective strategies will allow your child to feel capable and confident as they grow and navigate life.
Written by Mindful & Co