A confident child is sure of his/her abilities, recognizing and accepting both his/her strengths and weaknesses. We all want our children to be confident. But for many children confidence does not come naturally. Confidence must be nutured even for the child who seems confident all ready. Read on for 10 ways to build your child's confidence.
1. Say you are proud Tell your child when they have accomplished something
and you are proud of them. Tell others about your child's accomplishments and positive qualities. Let your child overhear you praising them to others. I often tell others, in front of my son, what a great reader he is and how well he does at math. He thinks he's the best at math in his first grade class. Maybe he was, maybe he wasn't. The point is that he thinks he is good and that gives him the confidence he needs to keep trying and learn new things.
2. Give responsibility Giving your child jobs to do around the house helps them feel valuable. It also teaches them adult skills. Assign your child chores that they must accomplish everyday. As they complete their chores they will acquire a feeling of self-worth and confidence in their abilities. Have your child help you with the dishes. Even my two-year-old puts her plate in the sink after she is finished eating. My four-year-old loves to help me fold laundry. My six-year-old has to make his bed and keep his room clean. All of my children help me clean up toys. My children also love to help dad wash the cars.
3. Don't label One of the worst things a parent can do is to label their child. Yet it is so easy to do. I found myself often saying in a teasing tone that my youngest child was a "stinker" or "little monster." I realized my labeling was impacting not my daughter but my son when I heard him telling his sister that she was a "monster." As parents we need to be careful that we give our child positive labels that reflect inner personality traits.
Sometimes parents focus on the physical traits of a child. Either saying that they are beautiful or a certain trait is ugly, like having big feet or a nose that is too large. Focusing on our child's physical characteristics whether good or bad teaches them that looks are what matter.
4. Encourage talents Write down all of the things that your child is good at. Then choose one thing that your child wants to pursue. It could be as simple as taking your child to the library each week because they like to and are good at reading. Or you could enroll your child in sports, child dance class, drama, art, or music class. The goal is to provide a positive experience for your child and allow them to excel at something.
5. Listen Let your child know they are important by really listening to them. Get down on eye level and give them your complete attention. If your child feels that you are not listening they will stop talking. They will feel that their opinions and feelings are not valued. And if a child feels that their own parent won't listen to them then they will believe that no one else will want to listen either.
6. Establish routines When you have set routines and a home that is predictable your child will feel more secure. Your child will be less likely to be afraid to venture out into the world when they know they can come home to a secure and loving environment. Having established routines helps your child understand what is expected of them and reach those expectations thus increasing their confidence.
7. Address your child by name Calling your child by name shows that you value them and that you feel that they are important enough to address by name. Using your child's name gives them a label that they can wear proudly. When my son was younger he would go up to people and proudly say, "I'm Tyler." He knew who he was. Children who are confident will address others by their name more frequently. They are unafraid to address others by name and will be better able to ask for help.
8. Play with your child Parents playing with children helps build their self-confidence because it shows them their parents enjoy being with them. Children learn through play and one of the many things they can learn is confidence. Play is a great time to role-play and praise your child. Playing with your child and allowing them to dictate the play gives them a feeling of importance and accomplishment. My girls love to play dolls or have a tea party with mommy and my son likes to pretend to go camping and play board games.
9. Set rules and consequences Children need to have set rules and consequences. This helps them feel valued and secure. A child who is required to follow rules will realize that their parents love them enough to set and enforce rules. Interestingly enough one study found that few teenagers wished their parents had established fewer rules, but many teenagers wished there parents had given more rules.
10. Be a positive mirror How your child perceives herself is based largely upon how you perceive your child. Do you reflect negative or positive images? Does you child know that her opinions matter to you? Does he think that you enjoy being with him? Providing positive reflections of your child helps him feel good about himself. It is also important to help your child realize that you value them because of who they are not just how they perform.