4 Tips To Build Confidence In Kids

posts.png

Parenting: How To Raise Confident Kids

BY DR. SARAH HUGHES

Your self-esteem is how you feel about yourself and how important you think you are. It’s one of the most valuable things you can teach your child. All children will face challenges and set-backs but children with healthy self-esteem are more resilient and more able to cope.

Is your child happy and confident?

Is your child happy and confident?

Healthy self-esteem helps kids to:

Be positive and optimistic
Feel happy and confident around other kids
Try new things
Persevere and find solutions
Know what they’re good at
Assert their needs and opinions
Make decisions independently

Some kids are naturally confident and outgoing, while others need more help to feel good about themselves.

Here’s 4 tips to help build your child’s self-esteem.

Tip #1: Help Your Child Identify Their Strengths

Help your child make a list of all the things they’re good at and all of their positive qualities, then keep the list somewhere visible. Ask family and friends to write down 5 of your child’s positive qualities or strengths and add these to the list. If the same quality or strength is mentioned more than once, put a star next to it each time it’s mentioned.

When you notice your child demonstrating one of their positive qualities on the list, tell them. Use specific praise so they know exactly what it is that they’re doing that’s great – “I was watching you taking turns and sharing your toys. I’m so proud of you for being so kind and generous”. Using specific praise like this will also help your child develop positive self-talk.

Tip #2: Spend Quality Time with Your Child

Kids feel worthwhile and important when you show them they’re your priority. Show your child how much they mean to you by making time for them. Set aside regular blocks of time to spend quality time with your child, keeping in mind that more regular shorter blocks of time (e.g. 15-minutes) are more meaningful than occasional longer blocks of time. Put away your mobile phone, turn off the TV and give your child your undivided attention.

During your quality time let your child decide what activity they’d like to do with you. Make your time together as positive as possible by joining in and looking interested (even if you’re not) and praising your child for appropriate behaviour. Avoid criticising your child, giving commands, or asking too many questions during quality time, the goal is to make your time together as positive as possible.

Tip #3: Help Your Child Develop Independence

When your child is able to do something without your help they feel a sense of achievement and accomplishment and their self-esteem grows. Your parent instinct will make you want to jump in and help when your child is struggling with something, but hang back and give your child the opportunity to finish the task by themselves. Likewise, if your child comes to you with a problem avoid rushing in with all the answers. Be a sounding board, but give your child the space to think through their own problems.

When you allow your child to be more independent you send the message that you have confidence in their ability to cope. Knowing you have faith in them will help your child to feel more sure of themselves, even when you’re not around.

Tip #4: Encourage Involvement in Activities

Mastering new skills will help build your child’s self-esteem and it will also help them to have the confidence to try new things. Encourage your child’s involvement in extra-curricular activities and help them to find things that they’re good at. When your child does well, showcase their achievements but always praise effort and participation over achievement. When your praise is predominantly achievement-based, you inadvertently tell your child that they’re only worthwhile if they excel.

Dr. Sarah Hughes is a clinical psychologist and the founder of Think Clinical Psychologists. She enjoys working with children, adolescents, and adults, and specialises in anxiety, depression, postnatal depression, eating disorders, self-harm, and challenging behaviour.