5 Tips for Installing Confidence In Your Child
5 Tips for Installing Confidence In Your Child
In today’s day and age, kids have a lot to worry about. Are they cool enough? Thin enough? Smart enough? Popular enough?
1. It’s Not All About Looks
Using your child’s class yearbook photo, ask your child to say one positive statement about every classmate that doesn’t involve a physical characteristic. Explain that saying that a classmate has pretty hair, or is tall and thin is an easy way out. Instead, focus on the traits that make them a good person or a respectful student.
After the activity is completed, point to your child and ask them to name something positive about themselves. Ask them how others would compliment them.
Explain that others do notice characteristics (just like they did in the activity) that do not revolve around looks.
This may make your child more self-aware of their actions and will help them realize it’s what’s on the inside that matters most.
2. Step Back
As a parent, it’s difficult to step back and let kids sort out their problems. But, it can (and needs to happen) as early as toddler time.
I was recently in a trampoline park when my 2 and a half year old started being double bounced by a child a few years older than him. Rather than rushing to his side, I let him build up his confidence. He said, “No, stop.” He repeated himself a few times and then began to look for me.
When he saw that I wasn’t immediately coming to his rescue, he confidently repeated himself and moved elsewhere. Kids who have parents who immediately do everything for them and defend them don’t learn how to stand up for what they want or how they feel and learn how to defend themselves.
3. Praise Often
“Thank you,” “Good job,” and “You’re good at that,” go a long way. It takes little effort from a parent to recognize their child’s good doings and compliment them. These words of encouragement are free, are worth more than any toy or monetary amount, and they go a long way.
Kids learn that their good deeds pay off, their initiative is recognized, and that they can feel proud of an accomplishment, no matter how big or how small. Praised children are also more happier overall and tend to want to continue to please others.
They are willing to stick their neck out to take risks because they have been acknowledged for doing so previously.
4. Watch Your Compliments
Even though I mentioned to praise often, compliments like those above should not be confused with physical compliments. It’s important to recognize your child’s actions, not appearance.
Statements like, “You’re gorgeous” or “You are the best dressed around” only make children egocentric. It sends the wrong message and focuses on praise for looking a certain way and not doing a certain thing.
Also, on the flip side, when you are complimenting your child for a specific action, keep your compliments grounded and realistic. This helps avoid an over inflated sense of self.
For example, by telling your daughter she is the best dancer you’ve ever seen, or telling your toddler he builds a tower like no other in the world; you are setting the bar to an unrealistic level.
While you may think this builds confidence, it does the opposite because kids who regularly receive over-inflated compliments get disappointed when their actions really can’t live up to what is being said to them.
5. Teach Kind Acts
I make it a point to encourage my son to complete one kind act each day. Whether it’s bringing his friends at the baby sitter’s a donut in the morning, or sharing some fish food with a child who does not have some at the zoo; my son is learning he is a unique, positive, caring human being.
He’s learning that things don’t revolve all around him and that others have feelings and matter around him. I noticed that after a few weeks of doing kind acts, my son looked forward to sharing, has been more outgoing in public to kids and adults, and has impeccable manners.
He’s not afraid to go up to others, or play on his own either. He’ll sing songs at the grocery store, dance the way he wants to; basically he’ll be “him” without worrying what anyone is thinking or if anyone is watching.
Building confidence should start at a young age. But, it’s never too late to try and start. Kids struggle with their image, their academics, and a wide variety of other social and emotional factors throughout their lives. These five tips will help build the basics when it comes to being a more confident kid at home, at school, and in the community.
Kate Trout is a coffee lover, cheese aficionado, and mom to the two cutest little kids. She’s also the blogger behind the parenting website Maternity Glow, where she writes about parenting tips & baby registry guides for new and expecting moms.