Both confidence and self-esteem have a significant impact on children’s early learning years. When children believe in themselves, they become better prepared to deal with everyday problems such as peer pressure, challenging tasks, frustrations, and managing their own emotions.
Teachers as well as parents play a crucial role in shaping a child’s self perception. This is done each and every day through the way you communicate, how you treat your child and also how much you expect from them. Although all children are different, here are some quick tips to boost children’s confidence.
Focusing on children’s strengths rather than their flaws helps to promote a positive self-image. Giving children exposure to try out new things will support them to discover their hidden talents and strengths.
A strength doesn’t necessarily need to be a sport or something creative such as painting or drawing. It can also be simple things like problem-solving, a keen eye for detail or demonstrating a strong sense of independence.
Acknowledging children’s efforts
Be proud of your child’s willingness to try! Children will be more determined to try if their efforts are acknowledged and recognised. However it’s important to note the difference between encouragement and praise.
Encouragement rewards the child and the efforts behind a task, whilst praise rewards the job completed. A simple example of this is “Wow the painting is amazing” as opposed to “Wow, you worked so hard to finish the painting!”. To avoid creating a continuous need for approval, reinforce that the journey is more important than the final product by encouraging children to try their best.
Spending more quality time with children
It is easier said than done, with a busy lifestyle it does get tricky to strike the right balance! Spending quality time with your children will give you an insight into their thought process and foster your child’s curiosity and help them make sense of the world around them. Being a part of their discoveries will make children feel valued. Family involvement in education is also shown to improve children’s academic achievement.
Asking simple questions such as “what do you think will happen next?” will get them to use their imagination and open up about new ideas. Open communication promotes confidence because children become comfortable sharing their own thoughts.
Accept mistakes and faults in a more encouraging way
Many external factors around us often put increased pressure on children to be ‘winners’. However, learning through mistakes teaches children coping mechanisms and can improve their social and emotional skills in response to situations.
It is critical to first empathise with children and put yourself in their shoes. Parents can quickly turn a mistake into a teachable moment. By sharing your own mistakes and personal experiences with children, you create a personal bond, develop a safe space and create a great level of comfort.
Giving responsibility and control to make decisions
As children gain increasing independence, parents must provide autonomy to children. Both the responsibilities you give and the decisions you allow children to make must be age appropriate. A study from the University of Minnesota, found that children who were assigned tasks around the house from a younger age became more independent and competent as adults. Additionally, allowing children to make decisions encourages them to use their problem-solving skills.
Including children in household decisions and responsibilities increases confidence because it gives them a sense of belonging. For younger children, it can be something as simple as helping put the groceries away. As they get older, it can be extended to creating a meal plan to ensure everyone is eating healthy, listing the ingredients needed, buying and then putting the groceries away.
Tutoring is directly linked to increasing children’s confidence as it is tailored to children’s strength and weakness. A tutor not only ensures academic success but increases a child’s self-worth by reassuring them of their intelligence and building them to be effective communicators in a nurturing one on one environment.
A child’s resilience, confidence and self-esteem all advance from childhood and is shaped by the experiences they encounter in their lifetime. There are numerous ways parents can make children feel valued. Building children’s self-worth, giving responsibilities, tutoring, recognising their strengths, accepting their failure and simply listening are merely just a few examples on how to raise confident children and set them up for life-long success.