How to Build Children's Confidence

Three Methods:Providing EncouragementFostering IndependenceTeaching Model Behavior

Being confident is important to future success. Children are sensitive and influenced by the world around them. Providing encouragement is crucial to your child's level of confidence. They need support from parents and adults, but they also need to learn how to be independent. By teaching model behavior and providing support, children will be more confident and learn to build a positive self-image.

Method 1
Providing Encouragement

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    Help your child develop a positive self-image. Help them to appreciate the good things about themselves. Being confident is about having self-esteem. By believing in them, they are more likely to believe in themselves. Confidence from adults boosts a child's self-image because they often look up to adults. [1]
    • Use verbal and non verbal cues to impart confidence in your children.
    • Give hugs. This can help to provide a sense of security.
  2. 2
    Say words of encouragement that are specific. Praise beyond their performance or accomplishments. Focus your encouragement by pointing out what specific characteristics or actions they are displaying that are good. Make sure to avoid statements that are too general. This may build an inflated sense of self-esteem if you are applauding your child at every single move.[2]
    • Consider saying,"I know it's a tough class, but you are a hard worker and I believe in you."
    • Focus on their interests and what they have done well in the past. Consider saying, "You've very creative. You draw buildings so well" or "You can do it. I've seen you hit the ball many times."
    • Avoid statements like, "You're such a good girl" or "You're so smart."
  3. 3
    Help your child to cope with failing. No one is immune to failure or loss at some point. Help your child to learn self-compassion through encouragement. Children need to learn resilience despite failures so that they can be able to recover from problems.[3]
    • Your child's self-worth should not be measured by their performance alone.
    • Encourage your child to understand that set-backs can be overcome. Be a positive motivator for your child, rather than focusing on their faults.
    • Change your child's negative self-talk about their failings into words of inspiration. Consider saying, "I know that you're worried about your grades, but I am so proud of how hard you've worked this semester. Don't be too hard on yourself. You can do this."
  4. 4
    Nurture your child's interests. Children have imaginations. They are creative and passionate about the world around them. Cultivate and encourage them to learn and explore. Your child will likely be more confident when they can be successful at something that interests them.[4]
    • Avoid choosing what you think they'll like. Give them a wide variety of activities to explore. Allow them to guide you.
    • If your child is more shy or has difficulty connecting with other kids, find ways to connect your child's interest to others.
    • For example, if your child likes to draw while others in your family are into sports, encourage your child to draw things that relate to sports or the types of physical activity that he or she enjoys. Have your child make a book of his artwork to feel a sense of accomplishment.
  5. 5
    Help your child to cope with fears. Your child may have social anxiety or phobias that decrease self-confidence. Assist your child to understand that their fears are not as bad as they seem. Young children may have imaginative fears of monsters or the dark that take time to overcome.[5]
    • Talk with your child about their fears. Provide reassurance that they are safe.
    • Reward brave behavior when they are facing their fears. Use verbal praise that is specific. Consider using a sticker program or other rewards for younger kids.
    • Assist your child in overcoming anxieties by exposing them to difficult situations in a controlled way for a short time. For example if your child has difficulty saying hello to strangers, help to model the behavior and teach them to say hello for 15 minutes in the grocery store or a similar place.
  6. 6
    Show that your love is unconditional. No one is perfect. Accept that your child will do things right, and sometimes make mistakes. Learn that they can grow when you guide them. Express how your love is there no matter what happens.[6]
    • Be proud of them. Even if they don't succeed at something, remember that life is a process of learning.
    • Avoid making your child think that your love is based on their performance--in school, in sports, or in their other activities.

Method 2
Fostering Independence

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    Allow your child to do things for themselves. Depending on the activity, children can learn a lot more by doing it themselves. Though it may be messy and take more time, it can also be greatly rewarding when a child does something themselves.[7]
    • Patience is key to helping your child grow in confidence.
    • Give children the time and space to try something new and learn from their mistakes. Provide help when they ask rather than doing the project or activity for them.
    • For example, your child is interested in pouring their own glass of juice into a cup. While they may be able to do so, but with some difficulty, you may at first want to do it for them. Take a step back and help them learn to pour their own glass. Even if they make a spill, you can teach them what to do when a spill happens. Use this as a teaching moment.
  2. 2
    Introduce your child to new experiences. One way to foster confidence is to see and do different things with your child. Share these times together. New experiences can teach them that life is not so scary or overwhelming.
    • Be part of this new experience with your child, but let them explore. Spend quality time with them in places that are different.
    • The experiences don't have to be expensive. It about building your child's interest in your community, in nature, and in learning. The more that they see and do, the less small or isolated they may feel.
    • Go a different park or library than usually do. Take them to a natural history museum. Go to a state or national park.
    • Take them to a restaurant with food they've never had before. Show them a community garden. Take them to farmer's market.
    • Take them to a sporting event that you both don't usually watch or attend.
  3. 3
    Let your child take healthy risks. It important that your child learns that certain risks can help build confidence. In tough situations, we take chances, make choices, and learn to take responsibility for those decisions. This is the same with children.[8]
    • Foster your child's resilience and curiosity by encouraging them to try new things.
    • When your child makes age-appropriate choices, they will feel more confident.
    • Be mindful of risks that may harm versus healthy risks that can be teaching moments.
    • For example, if your child feels shy in front of large groups, encourage them to enroll in a theater class. Help them use creativity to overcome their fears. Even if it's a small part with a few lines, they can feel more confident about being in front of people.
  4. 4
    Give your child responsibilities. For young children, they may want to be helpful and show that they can do things. Consider giving them chores around the house that may match their strengths.[9]
    • For example, if your child likes to organize things, ask them to help with sorting clothes and putting them in piles.
    • Or if they have like cars, have them help you wash the car or clean the interior.
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    Avoid putting too much pressure on your child. Your child is young and still learning what life is all about. Avoid blaming them if they aren't living up to your expectations. If they see that you are anxious and upset, they may lose their confidence and become withdrawn.[10]
    • Foster love and acceptance. Avoid comparing your child to others.
    • Instead of focusing on their performance, allow them to play too. Balance your child's activities with fun and relaxing things that you both can share.

Method 3
Teaching Model Behavior

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    Reinforce good behavior. Offer appropriate praise when you child does something well. Encourage them. Compliment them and be specific. [11]
    • Praise them when they are working hard and sticking with something challenging.
    • For example, don't say "You are good kid." Instead say,"I like the way you cleaned your room. You have good organizational skills."
  2. 2
    Provide support when they make a mistake. If a child does something inappropriate, learn to correct them in a supportive way. Avoid yelling at them with harsh words. Teach them that making mistakes can be a way to gain wisdom and learning for the future.
    • Encourage them during set-backs. Help them to understand the importance of persistence.
    • Mistakes can be learning opportunities.
  3. 3
    Act as a role model. Children learn the most from your behavior. Children invariably imitate adult behavior, good and bad. They want to be adults themselves.[12]
    • Your actions ultimately influence their future behavior. Teach them about good manners and appropriate etiquette in different situations.
    • If they see you swearing, they are more likely to swear. If they see you helping someone, they are more likely to help others.
    • Take note that your child is watching how you do things.
  4. 4
    Point out good behavior in others. Whether the people are your friends, family, or even strangers, show your child what good behavior looks like. Talk with your child about what that person did well, and what they did in the process.[13]
    • Choose role models such as ordinary heroes in your community or people that overcome adversity throughout history. Avoid using modern-day celebrities as primary examples of good behavior.
    • Help your child to understand that these admirable qualities are attainable by using real-life examples. Show them how resilience and confidence are possible despite challenges.

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Categories: Nurturing Talent