Updated: Aug 14, 2020
“Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.” –Malcolm S. Forbes
Confidence is not something we are born with. However it can be fostered and nurtured in our children. Children can learn to trust their own judgement and recover from failures. Keep reading for some tips on raising a confident child.
Connect with your child
Children need to know they are valued and loved at all times. Demonstrate interest in the things they are interested in. They can tell when you’re distracted and when you’re really paying attention.
In the words of Brene Brown, “You cannot give your children what you do not have.” It’s normal to have challenges and we can turn these challenges into teaching points for our children. Talk about a difficult situation you encountered, how you handled disappointment and how you persevered. Children observe and learn from their caregivers.
Give them choices
Children typically have a lot of rules and directions to follow, so when possible, give them choices. For example, “Would you like an apple or a banana?” or “Shall we read a book or do a puzzle?” Giving them choices helps them learn to make decisions confidently. It also helps them begin considering the consequence of their choices.
Give them responsibilities
Small tasks to complete around the home can help children learn life skills and feel capable. Even preschoolers can be involved by helping sort laundry, cleaning up their toys, and putting their dishes in the sink. Elementary school aged children can make their beds, set the table and vacuum their room. Older children can walk the family pet and wash dishes.
Focus on effort
Emphasize effort instead of end results. We may not always have control over the outcome, but we do have control over the effort and hard work we put into a task. Children who receive praise based on effort may become more open to trying new challenges.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
In the words of Peter T. McIntyre, “Confidence comes not from always being right but from not fearing being wrong.” This may be easier said than done, but let go of perfection. When we step in to “fix” our child’s work, we undermine their sense of confidence in their own capabilities.
Children learn through trial and error. Failures teach them how to cope with frustration and disappointment. By jumping in and rescuing them, we rob them of experiences where they can learn problem-solving skills. Provide support and encouragement by offering some strategies while also allowing your child to figure things out.
Set them up for success
Set achievable goals so that children have the opportunity to succeed. While it is good for children to be challenged, it is also important to set them up for success.