Small Ways to Build Big Confidence in Kids
Wouldn’t it be nice if every child grew up with confidence? Confidence is directly tied to a child’s future happiness, mental health, and success. Confident kids are better able to deal with peer pressure, cope with the everyday challenges of life, are more responsible, and are better able to handle both positive and negative emotions.
Pressure on kids to achieve academically is at an all-time high, and social media can drastically affect how your child sees themselves. Facing adversity is (unfortunately) part of growing up, and it is our job to equip children with enough confidence to not just survive, but to thrive in their childhood years and beyond.
Building up your child’s self-confidence is absolutely essential! Here are 7 ways you can help build big confidence in your child:
Let Your Child Know Your Love is Unconditional
Remind your child each day how much you love them. This can be as simple as a note in their lunchbox, a message taped to their bedroom door, random hugs, taking the time to stop and listen to what they have to say, or simply remembering to say “I love you” each day. Remind them that you are there for them no matter what, and be their #1 fan even when they make mistakes. Your encouraging words, love, and support, will help grow your child’s confidence while improving their self-esteem.
Set a Foundation for Positive Relationships
The most important initial relationship a child has is with their parent(s). This sets a foundation for how your child will build relationships with peers as they get older. It is our job to teach and model compassion, assertiveness, and how our own actions affect others. Children who understand this are more confident, and will be better able to handle the ups and downs of relationships, while maintaining self-confidence when someone else’s actions affect them.
Practice Affirmations and Positive Self-talk
This is a powerful tool that can improve your child’s mental health, their ability to manage stress, overcome challenges, and make better choices. Both kids and adults can benefit from practicing positive affirmations, so take this as an opportunity to improve your own confidence as well!
Use the voice in your head to say positive things to yourself, or print these phrases out and tape them to a mirror to be said out loud. Make this a daily thing. The more your child practices, the more these phrases will become a regular part of their life and how they view themselves.
I am enough.
I am brave.
I am kind.
I forgive myself for making a mistake.
Challenges help me grow.
I am confident.
There are people who love and respect me.
I can stand up for what I believe in.
It is okay not to know everything.
I can do better next time.
I am capable of so much.
I believe in myself.
I deserve to me happy.
I deserve to be loved.
I can make a difference in the world.
It is enough to do my best.
I can take it one step at a time.
I am thankful for today.
I got this.
Let Your Child Help Out Around the House
Children who help out with chores around the house have higher self-esteem, are more responsible, and have a better ability to delay gratification. Simple and age appropriate chores for young children may include: sorting laundry, taking care of the family pet, getting the mail, putting away dishes, setting the table, or making their bed. For older children try: mowing the lawn, taking out the trash, cooking a meal, doing their own laundry, or being an active participant in grocery shopping.
Ask Your Child for Their Opinion
Let your child take ownership of their choices and decisions. For younger children, it can be as simple as giving them two choices for things like the clothes they wear, or what they will eat for dinner, and letting them choose the one they want. For older children, make them a part of household decisions or ask their thoughts about current events. The goal is to create an environment where your child knows their thoughts are important and valued.
Quality One-On-One Time
Our lives get busy, but make it a goal to devote at least one day each month (or more!) to quality one on one time with each of your children. This time should be all about them – an activity they like, conversation devoted to their thoughts and feelings – just time to connect and show them how important and valued they are.
Provide Encouragement, Not Praise
Young children measure their worth and achievements by what the adults around them think of them. Be mindful to acknowledge your child’s effort. Instead of saying “this looks amazing, you are so smart”, try saying, “I can tell you worked so hard on this, good job”. Phrasing things in this way reassures your child that it’s okay not to be perfect, while encouraging them to try hard. Remember that while it is important to provide encouragement, you do not want to praise every little thing your child does. Too much praise can easily turn into a constant need for approval. It is okay for kids to know that they are better at some things than others, and that they don’t need to be good at everything. The things that we each do well are what make us unique.
Take some of these ideas and start building up your child’s confidence today – there is no better day to start!