5 Ways to Help Your Children Grow More Confident in Themselves

Nurturing a confident attitude in your children is one of the best things you can do for them as they grow up.

A confident child is well-equipped to take on responsibilities, navigate difficult situations, and express both positive and negative emotions healthily.

Conversely, kids who lack confidence tend to shy away from challenges or new experiences, and many struggle to express themselves.

Often, these children are held back by a fear of failure or disappointing others.

Confidence and healthy self-esteem are vital to any child’s success, health, and happiness, both throughout their growing years and in adulthood.

The good news is that confidence is a skill and a trait that anyone can develop with practice, patience, and a little help from their loved ones.

There are many concrete steps that you as a parent can take to help your children develop confidence.

Here are some of our recommendations:

Ask for Their Opinions

Asking your children for their input and taking their thoughts seriously can do wonders for their confidence, and it’s also something you can easily do every day.

The next time you shop socks, shoes, or clothes for yourself online, for example, call them over and ask them what they think would look good on you.

Involve them in discussions of everyday family concerns, such as assigning chores, deciding what to eat for dinner, and setting bedtimes.

Many adults are used to making even the most mundane decisions for their children, but asking your kids for their opinions sends the message that what they think matters.

It can make them feel valued and respected.

More importantly, it shows them that they can change and influence the world around them, hopefully for the better.

Participate in Playtime

Play is one of the first and most formative opportunities for kids to learn, get to know themselves, and interact with other people and with the world around them.

Joining in your children’s play is a great way to spend quality time together, and it’s also a surefire way to show them that they’re loved, valued, and worthy of your full attention.

Use this time to step away from any other distractions and obligations and to engage with your children fully and enthusiastically.

To foster confidence during play, allow your kids to choose and direct the activities.

Resist the compulsion to do particular activities 'correctly', and above all, don’t criticize your children for the ways they choose to play if they aren’t hurting anyone.

If they want to colour outside the lines or wear their shirts on backward during a dress-up game, you might instead ask them why they prefer to do things this way.

It could even be fun and interesting to follow their lead.

Give Them Age-Appropriate Responsibilities

It’s always a good idea to have your kids help out around the house as soon as they’re old enough.

You can assign them relatively simple, straightforward tasks at first, like dressing themselves or putting their toys away in a particular spot after playtime.

Then, as they get older, you can ask them if they would like to be in charge of more complex chores, such as making dinner, shopping for groceries, or looking after younger siblings.

Emphasize that taking care of these jobs regularly isn’t just good for them, but also for the entire family.

By letting children join in with household tasks from the youngest age, they will likely want to help because they feel like they have a role to play within your household

This will help to boost their self-esteem in the long run.

They’ll become more conscientious, dependable, and self-assured when they know they’re needed by the people who matter most to them.

Communicate that you entrust them with increasingly important responsibilities because you trust and believe in them, and this will hopefully encourage them to trust and believe in themselves as well.

Multiple studies also show that a well-developed sense of responsibility tends to carry over into children’s activities and relationships outside the immediate family.

Kids who help out at home have been found to show more empathy and care for their peers.

They also tend to perform better in school both academically and during extra-curricular activities.

Teach Them How to Deal with Failure

Building confidence hinges in a large part on developing a healthy relationship with the idea of failure. 

If children are afraid to fail, they may hesitate to apply themselves fully to their activities and shy away from opportunities to experience new things. 

For many such children, the fear of failure is frequently rooted in a fear of embarrassing themselves, of disappointing other people, or of being unable to deal with the negative consequences of their mistakes. 

In the process, they’re likely to miss out on valuable opportunities to learn, grow, and achieve their full potential.

Overcoming this fear, then, involves teaching kids to see mistakes as normal and even potentially educational experiences.

Many parents instinctively want to shield their kids from failure, and they’re often the first to rush to their children’s sides when they start to mess up even a little bit.

Resist this impulse to shield and over-protect your children, as you’ll likely only be stunting their emotional growth in the long run.

Allow them to make mistakes from time to time, help them figure out what they can do better in the future, and encourage them to try again.

Expose Them to New Experiences

Many children who lack self-confidence have grown up in very insular, sheltered circumstances and often find themselves overwhelmed by the larger world.

As a parent, it’s your responsibility to facilitate diverse and rich life experiences for your children as they grow up.

This will help them engage other people and the world around them with confidence, no matter how different, unusual, or scary the situations they find themselves in may seem initially.

Part of accumulating a variety of life experiences is allowing your children to learn a variety of skills or participate in many different activities.

Applaud their courage whenever they try something new, like trying out for their school’s drama club or taking a swim in the deep end of your neighbourhood pool.

Affirm that these new experiences in themselves are valuable, no matter how 'well' or 'badly' they turn out in the end.

As with any skill, confidence is something you and your children will have to practice and hone over time.

A consistent approach is key, so take every opportunity to empower your kids rather than consistently rescuing them.

Also, make sure to involve them in important decisions and to celebrate their efforts.

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