A confident child will stand up for what they believe in, try new things, and trust their judgment. Confidence helps to build a platform for future happiness and success in life, without bowing to peer pressure or being overwhelmed by challenges. So how do you instill confidence and self-esteem in your child?
Teach Them New Skills
Exposing your children to new skills and experiences is a great way to show them that they can achieve anything when they work hard. Activities such as kids swimming lessons give children an opportunity to practice and master essential life skills while building confidence. Other ideas include basic cooking skills, a musical instrument, or riding a bike. Take note of the things that your child loves – this is the best starting point!
Show Them Your Unconditional Love
Childhood is an overwhelming time. It is vital that children have people in their lives that they can rely on and that love them unconditionally. Make sure that you give them lots of hugs! Research has shown that a minimum of eight 15 second hugs a day can improve health and help people form lasting relationships. If your little one is much too busy to stand still for this long, handholding or rubbing their back has similar benefits. Don’t forget to tell them how much you love them either. In our household, we say it at least 20 times a day, but even once as they fall asleep helps to reinforce that no matter what, they have you in their corner.
Be Specific When You Praise Them
It can be tough to be mindful of the way you phrase each sentence as a parent, but specific praise will pay dividends when it comes to long term self-esteem. So how do you do this? Save the “good boy!” remarks for the family dog, and instead offer more specific encouragement. Some examples might be “I saw you sharing nicely with your sister; it makes me feel very proud of you.” Or “I love that drawing, I can see how hard you were concentrating on getting it right. Tell me some more about it.” It is also worthwhile praising effort rather than the result. If Johnny does well in his school test, try saying “Well done – your hard work practicing your spelling each night is paying off!” rather than “you are so clever!”
Show Your Children That You’re Human
We put immense amounts of pressure on ourselves as parents to be perfect and get it right every time. In reality, showing your kids that you make mistakes and get upset sometimes is just as critical as encouraging them in other ways. Children don’t need unrealistic standards to live up to – they need real live role models. You might share your own experiences with a particular sport, saying “I always found it hard to hit the ball back across the net at tennis, but that’s okay. I was good at other things like singing.”
Enforce Consistent Boundaries
Having firm and consistent rules and boundaries helps to make your child feel safe and secure. They may test these boundaries at times, but ultimately it helps them feel confident when they know what to expect. These rules will evolve as your kids grow and learn, but whatever their age, consistency is vital.
Overall, remember to encourage and nurture your little one; it will help them to build self-confidence over time.