9 Effective Ways to Build Your Child’s Confidence
Need some tips and strategies to bring your child out of their shell? Here are nine effective ways to get started.
1. Win, lose or draw - encourage
When responding to your child's activities, the result should always be secondary. Whether your child manages to achieve their goal or comes up short, the primary focus is the journey they undertake to get there.
Your child should never be discouraged from trying. If they show dedication and enthusiasm as they pursue their goals, that should be enough to warrant encouragement from you. Children aren’t as well equipped to deal with criticism as adults. If they are met with negativity from you, their confidence will drop, and they will be less able to perform the task at hand and develop their skills.
No matter the result, always encourage your child to try again.
2. Encourage practice
No one, from the greatest athletes in the world to the finest actors and musicians, gets to where they are without practice. Competence breeds confidence, so encourage your child to keep practicing whatever it is they are interested in.
As a parent, you need to balance this with not being too pushy. Putting too much pressure on your child will quickly reduce their enthusiasm for their hobbies or studies. If practice breeds competence, then a lack of practice will lead to a drop in confidence.
3. Don’t handhold
As a parent, it’s only natural that you’ll want to help your child excel as much as you can. However, if you take this notion too far you’ll only serve to hamper your child’s progress in that activity.
Children need to be left to their own devices to work out problems and create solutions. Knowing that they were responsible for solving a problem is what truly builds confidence. Nudge your child in the right direction, offer them some support when they struggle, but don’t hold their hand through every problem.
As an extension of this, try to foster independence and a sense of adventure in your child. Children who are given the room to try new things are more likely to build self-confidence.
4. Challenge them
Achieving a significant goal is made up of smaller, incremental steps. Without these steps in place, it can be a daunting task. As a parent you can set out these smaller steps, challenging your child to make small but significant improvements that they can revel in.
Every time your child takes another step on the ladder to success, they gain a little bit more confidence.
Challenging your child could also mean giving them some added responsibility. This could be as small as asking their opinion or advice on a subject. During play, allow them to take control of the game you are playing. Your child will appreciate the added responsibility and respect you’re giving them – which can be a handy confidence booster.
5. Don’t get frustrated by questions
Asking questions helps children develop knowledge of themselves and what’s unfolding in front of them. It also provides the realisation that there are things in the world that they don’t know. As they build their knowledge and learn about more subjects, their confidence grows.
If you, as their parent, discourage them from being inquisitive, they might mirror that behaviour in class, curbing their ability to learn effectively, so always remember to respond to every question with positivity and encouragement.
6. Turn mistakes into positives
We all make mistakes in life, but it’s how we deal with them that defines us.
Helping build resilience is a difficult task for parents, but it’s one of the most vital aspects of developing confidence in your child. Help to develop a mindset that takes the positives from every experience, whether good or bad. This simple psychological shift can help bring about a fearless nature that’s so important for building self-confidence.
7. Be full of praise when they try something new
It takes a certain amount of courage to try something new or approach something familiar in a new way. It could be something like joining a new sports team, getting up on stage at the school play, or even facing a fear like heights on a rollercoaster. Whichever way your child shows bravery, be sure to let them know how much of a good job they’ve done just for trying.
Even if it doesn’t quite work out, you can use some of the other tips mentioned here to mine the positive from each experience – no matter the outcome.
8. Create a wall of achievements
There is no greater feeling for a child than knowing their mum or dad is proud of their achievements. Show them how much you appreciate their efforts by dedicating a wall or other area to some of their achievements. This might include outstanding schoolwork, a picture they’ve drawn, or a medal they’ve won during a sports event.
Every time your child sees the wall, they’re reminded of the euphoric feeling they experienced when they hit a goal or achieved something new. That in turn gives them the confidence to carry on pushing themselves and try hard.
9. Remember they are children
You know your child better than anyone. Throughout your efforts to build your child’s confidence levels, remember that they are children and adjust your expectations accordingly.
When giving them responsibility, let them make age-appropriate choices like what to wear and where to go on a day out. When they grow older you can give them greater responsibility to continue to foster that independence.
When it comes to observing results, don’t place unrealistic expectations on them. Expecting them to perform as well as a child who is older than them can discourage effort and lead to a drop in confidence if these standards aren’t being met. Above all, let your child act their age.
At Nord Anglia Education, we understand that developing your child’s confidence is part of delivering an education that prepares them for life after academia. To find out how we do that, head to our school page.