Confidence in kids is extremely vital to their healthy self-development. With how the world currently is, it seems that this is something that has taken a detrimental knock on many children.
If we had thought being a kid was tough in the age of the internet (cyber-bullying/ constant comparison), try that on with a pandemic on top (and a rise in mental health issues).
A confident child with good self-esteem will be better equipped to face the ins and outs of everyday life — they would know how to stand up for themselves, be responsible, take ownership, deal with frustration and challenges, as well as positive and negative emotions.
Us parents play an important role in helping to build and instil this confidence within these young souls. It’s up to us to be very intentional with how we can help them.
In this article, I look at the top tips on how to build confidence in kids so that they can thrive in life regardless of what’s happening in the world.
30 Tips On How To Build Self-Confidence In Kids
1. Show Your Love Unconditionally
This may seem obvious, but it’s the most important. Your child needs to know that you love them no matter what.
Whether they win or lose that sports match, get good grades or not, or even when you may be upset with them.
Unconditional love builds a strong foundation for a confident child.
The way our kids believe we see them has a profound impact on the way they see themselves. So the role we play here is extremely important.
2. Provide Positive Feedback And Praise
Children need to receive praise and positive feedback — what you as a parent think has an impact on how they measure their worth and achievements.
Don’t go and praise them for everything, be genuine with what you say. If they fail at something or struggle with a particular skill, praise the effort, but don’t be disingenuous with praising the results.
Encourage them that it’s okay to not be able to do everything perfectly and that some things take time and practise. Or they can move on altogether if it’s not for them.
3. Help Them Set Goals
Self-confidence in kids will increase when you help them set realistic goals. When a child has a dream, you want to be able to support them in making it a possibility in whatever way you can, even if it may seem ridiculous to you.
Getting them to share their goals, large and small, and helping them achieve them will help make them feel strong and capable.
Turn their desires into actionable goals by encouraging them to make a list of things they’d like to achieve. Then, practise breaking down these longer-term goals into practical benchmarks.
You’ll be validating their interests and helping them learn the skills they need to attain their goals throughout life.
4. Model Self-love And Positive Self-talk
The way your kids will love and speak to themselves will be based on how you love and speak to yourself.
You don’t realise it but kids pick up on everything and model that behaviour. So speak to yourself with kindness and love. Celebrate yourself when there’s personal success and share it with them.
5. Give Them Age-appropriate Tasks And Responsibilities
A great way to boost confidence in kids is by giving them age-appropriate responsibilities and chores to do as they will feel they are making a valuable contribution and that they are needed.
This could include tasks such as making the bed, feeding the pets, setting the table, folding clothes, picking up toys, fetching siblings etc.
6. Teach Resilience And That Failure Is Normal
It’s totally normal to want to protect your kids from failure. There’s nothing worse than seeing your child sad or disappointed, but failure builds resilience and is how they learn.
Falling short on a goal or not getting something 100% right will help them realise that the world won’t end if this happens.
Show them how they can use these experiences as lessons and talk about what steps they could possibly take next time.
7. Instil Independence And Adventure
Kids who are confident will be excited to try new things without fearing that they may fail.
A great way to do this for younger kids can be by baking or cooking together and giving them most of the responsibility while you supervise.
Encourage your kids to try new things and go new places. Day trips and outings, new hobbies, holidays and trips with mates or schoolmates can all expand your kids’ horizons and build confidence in their ability to handle new situations.
8. Encourage Physical Activities And Sports
Movement is not only important because of the health benefits, but also because it can help kids learn to recognise their strengths and weaknesses (which they’ll accept or strengthen), manage defeat, expand their group of mates and learn how to work in a team.
This will also help them stay fit and learn to appreciate and value their bodies.
Encourage them to find a physical activity that they really enjoy, don’t push an activity on them because it’s what you want them to do.
9. Support Their Passions
Exploring their own interests can help kids develop a sense of identity, which is essential to building confidence.
And as they see their talents grow, this will also give them a huge confidence and self-esteem boost
Make sure as the parent you respect and encourage your child’s interests — even if it doesn’t necessarily interest you.
10. Think Before You Compliment
We know that kids need loads of encouragement, especially when they’re doing things for the first time like learning to walk or draw.
It’s important to be very intentional with the praise we give, as children can get very used to hearing “well done” or “nice work” that they will then struggle to know when their accomplishments are really worth celebrating.
Also, it’s not necessary to give praise when they do something they’re supposed to do like brushing their teeth or putting their clothes in the wash, just saying “thank you” is enough.
Try to offer specific feedback: Instead of saying that your kid’s drawing is beautiful, maybe point out their brilliant use of colours.
11. Let Them Make Age-Appropriate Decisions
Confidence in kids gets built when you allow them the chance to make choices from a young age.
Let them make age-appropriate decisions like what to wear, what to eat for breakfast, what game to play or colour to use, where to go on an outing etc.
12. Encourage Them To Try New Things
Encourage your kids to try new things. It’s healthy for kids to diversify instead of always focusing their energy on what they already know or do well at.
Attaining new skills makes kids feel capable and confident that they can do whatever comes their way.
13. Practice Positive Self-Talk With Them
This is a good tip for us adults too!
Both adults and kids can so easily get caught up in the negative and damaging self-talk: “I can’t do this,” or, “I’m terrible at __________,” or, “What is wrong with me?”
Try one of these growth mindset affirmations in the image for encouragement.
14. Promote Problem Solving
Encourage your kids to problem-solve instead of always giving them the answer.
Critical thinking is so useful especially in giving a child a sense of confidence to know they can work things out on their own.
This is just about creating space for this, if they need your help you can step in.
15. Set Rules And Be Consistent
First and foremost you are the parent, not a best friend. It’s important that you create structure and healthy boundaries for your kids.
Learning and following rules give kids a feeling of safety and confidence. Every family and home will have different rules and these will change over time based on their age.
16. Encourage Them To Get Involved In Helping Others
Boost confidence in kids by encouraging them to help others. The opportunity of helping others is something kids are naturally drawn to whether it’s helping mum in the kitchen or taking biscuits to an old age home.
17. Model And Work On Your Own Confidence
As we already know, our kids model us, so it’s important to focus on improving your own confidence.
Start by making positive comments about yourself and others in your kid’s presence.
18. Join In On Their Play
Joining in on your kid’s play or activity communicates that they are important to you and worth your time.
Allow your kids to choose the activity, as well as lead it.
This gives them autonomy and when they see you engaged and enjoying the activity this will bring them joy and a sense of accomplishment.
19. Don’t Get Upset About Mistakes
It’s important that kids know that everyone makes mistakes and it’s how they learn from them that really matters.
People who are confident don’t let the setbacks or failures get them down, they move forward regardless taking in each lesson.
20. Embrace Imperfection
Perfectionism is something many adults still battle with, that’s why it’s vital for us to teach our kids early on that it’s completely unrealistic.
Help your kids to understand that what they see on TV, magazines, or on social media, is not always a real representation of how things really are.
The impression that others are always happy, successful, and perfectly dressed is a fantasy and an adverse one at that.
Instead, remind them that as human’s we are imperfectly perfect and that’s enough.
21. Encourage Them To Express Their Feelings
Encourage your kids to express their feelings — both positive and negative emotions — help them talk through these emotions and navigate them in a healthy way.
22. Address Them By Their Name
When looking at how to build confidence in kids, a simple way to communicate that they’re important is by addressing them by their name in a friendly way (especially with kind eye contact).
23. Make Time For Them That Has Your Undivided Attention
This is essential to making your kids feel valued and confident.
Make sure you set aside time for them where you can be 100% present.
Kids know when you’re not completely there and your mind is elsewhere.
Put away any distractions like electronics and make sure they are getting your undivided attention.
24. Speak Positively To Others About Them And Let Them Overhear
Another easy way to boost your kid’s confidence is to inadvertently let them hear you sing their praises to others on their accomplishments or efforts.
25. Don’t Ever Compare Them To Others
This is a big no-no! Absolutely avoid comparing kids to their siblings, friends or classmates (basically anyone).
Comparisons can be extremely detrimental and damaging on children and can cause them to doubt themselves, believe that they can’t please you or meet your expectations, and ultimately lose total confidence in who they are.
26. Surround Them With People Who Are Positive And Confident
Like the old adage goes “you are the company you keep” could not be more true.
You want to make sure that your kids are surrounded by people who are positive and confident as this will have an impact on them.
It’s also important that these people are uplifting and encouraging so that they can add to the growth and vibrancy of their life.
27. Ask Them For Their Advice Or Opinion
A powerful way to build confidence in kids is by asking them for their advice or opinions on situations that are age-appropriate for them.
This shows them that even adults don’t always have all the answers and that it’s okay to ask for help when you need it.
28. Create A Wall Of Fame To Acknowledge Their Achievements
This is such a beautiful way to express your admiration and appreciation for your kids’ accomplishments.
Having a “Wall of Fame” can be an excellent tool for giving kids that confidence boost in moments of self-doubt.
It could showcase anything from grades, drawings, trophies, certificates, art projects, photos of certain accomplishments etc.
29. Show Them Physical Affection
Physical touch and affection is a vital love language and is essential to making children feel joyful and confident.
This could be anything from high fives, back pats, hair tousles, hugs, shoulder/ hand squeezes etc. to show that they are loved, cared and valued.
The Future Needs Confident Kids
We are responsible for shaping the next generation. Confidence in kids is needed now more than ever, especially with how different the world now is that they are growing up in.
As parents, we need to do our best in how we help develop our kid’s confidence (as well as our own)! The way we see ourselves is how they see us too.
I hope this article served you and provided you with some helpful tips on how to instil confidence in your kid.
Please feel free to share in the comments below and ask me any questions.
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