Ways to increase confidence in children
Show appreciationNo matter how big or small the achievement, always give praise to your children. And it’s equally as important to praise effort as well, so they don’t feel they have to achieve something great to be worthy of your approval or love. However, it's important to make sure it IS an achievement. For example, don't praise your children for tying their shoelaces unless they have a problem with that particular task and are making progress with it.
Let them be themselvesOne of the many reasons children lack confidence is because they're afraid to be themselves for fear of being reprimanded. Although we should still impose guidelines for behaviour and teach them right from wrong, we should also allow our children to express themselves and not be afraid of what others might think of them. They should be allowed to have their own opinions as long as they learn to express them in a positive manner.
Teach them it’s okay to failFailure is often something feared by children the most because they are afraid of the repercussions. It’s so important to let them know that failure is a process everyone must experience in order to become a better person in whatever capacity. As long as they know it’s okay to fail, they will continue learning valuable lessons for life. From experiencing failure, they will also discover resilience and perseverance.
Set them challengesSetting challenges for children and pushing them out of their comfort zone can be extremely beneficial to them. As long as you start off small and increase the challenges gradually over time, this will give them the confidence to try new things and they will become less fearful as they grow up.
Help them discover their talentsEven as adults, some of us never realise our talents or potential because we're too afraid to take risks or try something new. Sometimes we might have hidden talents that won’t be discovered at school, so we need to try our hand at lots of different things to find out what we enjoy and want to improve at. Whenever possible, let your child take up a dance class or learn to play an instrument and if they don’t enjoy it, let them try something else.
Teach them not to be afraid of adultsIt’s not uncommon for children to feel fearful of adults, and this can prevent them from expressing themselves truthfully. As long as your children understand respect and that it applies to everyone not just people of a certain age, then we should avoid instilling a fear of adults in them.
Show them unconditional loveAlthough there will be times when you need to let your children stand on their own two feet, make sure they know that you love them unconditionally. If they know they have your support and love at all times, this will give them the confidence to learn from their own mistakes.
Be a good role modelOne of the best and most important ways that our children learn from us is when we lead by example. Let them see when we make mistakes and how we learn from them, or show them how we cope with situations that we might be fearful of.
By raising confident children, we are also giving them the skills to manage their mental wellbeing. The better they become at facing challenges and overcoming failure, the less likely they are to feel anxious or stressed about certain situations.
For more about raising confident and happy children, download our pdf booklet, Flourishing Children - Help Your Child To Thrive
This BBC article looks at a study that was undertaken to determine if confidence in children affected their academic success. It's an interesting read!