Fostering self-confidence in children is a balancing act for both parents and educators. On the one hand, positive reinforcement is necessary to help boost self-esteem. But on the other hand, mistakes are great teachers that instill vital qualities of resilience and grit.
Too much positivity will make them unprepared for future setbacks. But too much negative reinforcement harms their self-image. There is no clean-cut way to boost your child’s confidence, but a combination of methods helps raise kids who are confident and comfortable in their own skin.
Techniques for Building Confidence in Kids
These are several ways adults can assist a child in finding confidence from within themselves.
1. Nurture Their Extra-curricular Interests
Your child can learn so many lessons outside of the classroom. Introduce them to potential pursuits by letting them join different activities. Have them try out sports and performing arts to find out where their interests lie.
Children who incline the performing arts will best outgrow their shyness by being exposed to environments in which they have to be in front of an audience. Support your child in this endeavor by letting them take classes and assisting them in their preparations.
Go ahead of them, too, in finding a rehearsal room for rent when the time comes that they gain the courage to take on bigger stages. A space with ample room and mirrors is important in helping children monitor their movements and facial expressions. Seeing their actions familiarizes them with their own abilities and points for improvement.
Sports is another pursuit that teaches the value of teamwork and cooperation. By learning how to work with a different group of people, they build the confidence to interact with others, especially unfamiliar people.
By taking part in activities that interest them and require going out of their comfort zones, your children become more socially and emotionally intelligent. They become more receptive to different people and situations and are better equipped to stand on their own two feet.
2. Encourage but Don’t Coddle
In extra-curricular activities and school requirements, parents and teachers are the primary gauges for children to know if they have done a good job. It is important to recognize the hard work of a child, regardless of the result. Make sure they understand that their efforts do not go unnoticed.
But don’t carelessly throw around compliments. When you praise your child, pay attention to specific aspects of their progress. For example, instead of saying, “This is a nice drawing!” you can instead say, “I love the details on the house you drew!” At some point, a child will notices when they receive empty praise and exaggerations.
3. Give Them a Bit of Independence
Train your child to be able to make their own decisions. Start with little things. Make options available to them regarding small choices, such as what they will wear for the day, their meals, or which chores they will do first.
Regularly being put in situations in which they have the power to decide allows your child to trust their judgment as they grow up. By knowing that they have the ability to make their own decisions, they will be less intimidated by the many crossroads that will come their way in the future.
4. But Assist Them When Necessary
Leaving your child some room for independence does not mean not guiding them at all. There are instances where it remains wiser to tell your child what to do. These scenarios usually include their bedtime or study hours when they are younger.
They need to learn to make good decisions, but they should also know that their parents are there for them. Let your child feel and understand that they can come to you for their concerns and moral support.
5. Be a Good Example
How you present yourself to your child stays with them. If you always speak of yourself lowly or speak negatively about others, they will think this is how they should also act. Be healthily honest about yourself by showing your kids that you recognize your strengths and improve your weaknesses.
Constant busyness and unavailability also do not help. Model good self-care and work-life balance so that they understand that confidence is not only derived from achievements and endless work.
Don’t Shield Your Child
Overprotectiveness only harms your child in the long run. By allowing them to experience new things, you pave the way for further growth. Exposure to various situations will make them less afraid of failure and more excited to learn and improve.