Learn 9 ways to raise your child to be confident and have positive self-esteem. Parents are instrumental in the early years of developing self confidence and then throughout adolescence, they are intregal in continuing to build upon the foundation they started years earlier. These are 9 Proven ways to boost a child’s confidence you can begin implementing today.
A parent’s ability to be instrumental in building their kid’s confidence is one of the most important things you’ll do for them.
What does confidence look like in children, and especially as they mature into adolescents and young adults?
Confident kids trust their own judgment, aren’t afraid to try new things even if they may fail, are more effective communicators and problem solvers, and have high self-esteem. In order to help boost your kid’s confidence, you have to be an active participants in their lives. It means that you pay attention, observe, make time for their needs and construct praise that’s more than a congratulatory “Good Job.”
Here are 9 proven ways to help your children build confidence in themselves and in their abilities.
1) MAKE YOUR CHILDREN A PRIORITY EVEN WHEN YOU’RE BUSY
Take the time to engage with each of your children every single day. I know we’re all busy, we all have busy lives, and are involved in many activities, but your kids need you to see you.
Show an interest in whatever they’re fixated on lately, look at the pictures they draw for you, pay attention and care about what they say and do. Ask in-depth questions that go beyond, “how was your day” or “what did you do at school today?” Show them you really care about what they think about, are afraid of, may be interested in and what they think about.
Making children feel seen, makes them feel important and that feeling of being a priority to someone is a huge confidence booster. Knowing that your parents love you should be innate (for most children this is the case), but knowing that your parents want to know more about you and demonstrate that they take time to understand and listen to you, is critical to a kid feeling important.
2) HOW TO PRAISE WITHOUT SAYING “GOOD JOB”
Children know when you are only partially paying attention whether they’re trying to show you a new picture they colored, ask you the same question for the 300th time or want you to watch a new trick they’ve been working to master. They know when you’re simply offering them a cursory glance or an obligatory “good job” of appeasement.
It only takes a few seconds to stop what you’re doing, watch them and really look at what they’re showing you. Saying a half-hearted “good job” is the easy way out, its dismissive praise. It also does absolutely no good.
Instead, be specific and praise their character, their work and skills. All of this goes a lot farther in boosting their confidence and self-esteem.
For example, you can say: “Wow, I love the colors you chose to use in your picture, the way you colored inside the lines is excellent.”
I like to turn the praise back around to my kids which makes the praise about something they did well.
For example: “I really liked the way YOU worked hard to get across all the of monkey bars. YOU are very strong.” OR “I noticed how hard YOU were trying to get the new drill at soccer practice today. I’m impressed that YOU didn’t give up even though it looked like a tough one.”
This goes a lot farther than simply saying, “Good job on the monkey bars” or “good job at soccer today.” It actually tells them in a descriptive way about their achievement or character and why they impressed you.
3) KIDS SHINE WITH POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT
Along the same lines as being specific with praise, look for opportunities to point out character-building compliments.
If your child is struggling with something but finally starts to catch on, applaud them on their perseverance and positive attitude to keep trying even though it was a struggle. If they have been working hard on stacking blocks and can’t wait to show you the tall tower, compliment her about how hard she worked and the amount of concentration it must have taken to build it.
Don’t wait for your children to bring you something they want to show you, look for reasons to offer applause. This tells them that you are paying attention and are interested in what they’re doing.
4) THE VALUE IN GIVING CHOICES
Letting your children make their own choices, boosts confidence because they learn to trust their own judgment.
Allow your kids to pick out their own clothes that they feel comfortable in, even if it looks a little silly or mismatched. Let them pack their lunch, pick out a book to read, or jump off the diving board if they want to give it a go.
If your children are younger, an alternative to giving them free reign, is to give them two choices and let them make a decision from the choices you offer. Young kids still feel like they’re decision-makers, even though it’s from the ones you offered them. For example, you may say:
- “Would you like peanut butter and jelly or a grilled cheese for lunch?”
- “Would you like to take a bath before or after dinner?”
- “Would you like to go to read a book before bed or do a puzzle before bed?”
Let your kids stay up 5 more minutes, let them read one more book or cuddle just a little bit longer, let them jump in the pool four more times because it makes them happy and builds their confidence, and it won’t be the end of the world to give up a couple more minutes when it helps to make them feel empowered.
5) DON’T RESCUE WHEN YOUR CHILD EXPERIENCES FAILURE
This is a hard one, because letting your child get discouraged, make mistakes, struggle or get hurt, hurts you too. It’s our natural instincts, as parents to want to swoop in and make things right, but its time to bite our tongues, and hold back from the urge to jump into action. We actually don’t do our kids any favors if we try to fix the problem or make things right for them.
Children must learn about failure; what it feels like to fail, and most importantly, how to pick themselves up and overcome failure. Kids have to learn to overcome discouragement, struggles, and obstacles on their own.
What they learn will build resilience, perseverance, and boost confidence in knowing that triumphs often times come from struggle. The best part is that when they do succeed, the confidence they gain from the experience will be well worth it and ultimately teach them to persevere against challenges.
Let your kids take the risk that they might fail so they can learn how to persevere. Something may seem scary – trying out for a sports team, running a race, taking a test, learning something new – but how will our children ever learn that from risk, there can be reward, unless we offer encouragement to put themselves out there and try.
6) LET THEM LEND A HELPING HAND
Children like to be good helpers and contribute – whether it’s asking to help make dinner, sweep the floor, pick up a toy or grab something off the shelf for you. They like small tasks that make them feel like they’re helping or making a difference.
Find little ways that they can help and feel like they play an important role in your household. Feeling important and knowing they’re helpful makes them confident.
7) SAYING ‘YES’ BOOSTS CONFIDENCE
It’s easy to say “no” out of habit – no dessert tonight, no staying up late, no wearing shorts because it’s raining, no skipping bath time, and no, popsicles don’t count as lunch.
It becomes harder to say “yes” when you say “no” often out of habit, but saying “yes” to simple things your children ask to do, eat or go, also builds their self-esteem to have a voice and make choices for themselves.
If the answer is always no, you run the risk of stifling your relationship with your kids. At some point, they’re going to stop asking you and may just do it anyways.
When your son asks for one more book, to choose an outfit by himself in the morning, to have a certain snack, to cuddle a little longer… remember this isn’t just about more time with you, it’s about the confidence it took to ask in the first place.
While you may be having a challenging day, are dog tired, or don’t feel like you can squeeze one more thing in your busy schedule… know that when you start saying yes more, you’ll begin to see a change in your children’s assertiveness and happiness and there is always time for this!
8) PROBLEM SOLVING BUILDS SELF-ESTEEM
STOP! Before you jump in and solve your children’s problems for them, give them suggestions on how they can problem solve and help themselves.
Are they stuck on a math problem, putting puzzle pieces in the right spot, sharing a toy or a conflict at the playground?
Before you rush to solve the problem before the crying, fighting or chaos ensues, choose to guide your children to find a solution on their own. When they can find solutions on their own, they’ll have pride in themselves and their communication skills, judgment and overall confidence in themselves.
9) MODEL CONFIDENCE TO TEACH CONFIDENCE
“You cannot give your children what you do not have.”
– Brene Brown
This is one of my favorite parenting quotes and a good reminder that in order for us to teach and character-build – including confidence, resilience, perseverance, kindness, self-esteem – we must first exhibit these characteristics ourselves.
Parenting is a constant cycle of finding opportunities to improve ourselves because it improves the lives of our children. If we have weaknesses, they will be reflected in our children. If we have strengths, our children will be a reflection of these.
Be confident in your actions, in your activities, with your body and your choices. Speak out loud about your mistakes and failures and show your children how you overcome being let down. Teach them about picking yourself up when you’ve been knocked down. Share your goals and methods to reaching your dreams. Show that hard work can equal huge gains.
Routine Cards Help Children Build Their Independence
Routine cards are a wonderful way to help kids remember what comes next, whether it’s for the morning, bedtime or an entire day. These printable routine cards come in boy and girls styles and include chore cards, and our online store offers printable morning and bedtime charts with coordinating routine cards.
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