One of the most vital characteristics we can foster in our children is confidence. It’s the building block for all other learning capabilities. It’s no secret that children thrive in an environment filled with love. The first, and most important, learning happens in our homes. We have the opportunity to set our children up for a lifetime of self-reliance, intellectual capacity and effective communication. At the bottom of this list, you’ll find a few of my favorite book recommendations to help you on the journey.
Here are 10 simple ways you can help encourage your kids to be confident:
1. It Starts With You
Monkey see, monkey do, and monkey turns out much like you. Be careful how you speak about yourself in front of your children. Just say good things. You’re pretty great. The more you say it, the more you’ll believe it.
2. Say It, Together
Try this tonight: Stand in front of a mirror with your child and say together: “I am smart. I am tough. I am loved. I am enough.” It’s a fun and catchy rhyme that can only make you smile. After you’ve tried it tonight, prepare yourself to say it every day thereafter. Self-affirmations are incredibly beneficial when building confident kids.
This might sound obvious to some, but I struggle with an inner micro-manager and have to consciously remember the journey is often more important than the destination. Our children are perfectly imperfect. Encourage them to grow and learn from their mistakes.
4. Let Them Choose
It’s impossible not to smile at the child who has proudly dressed himself before heading to the store. Little choices, as simple as what they’re wearing, help children understand that their opinion matters. They feel empowered. At times, you may need to preselect a handful of options for them. For instance: cereal, oatmeal or toast. Your child is given an opportunity to choose, but narrowing the options helps children focus and you’re not late for work after they’ve requested pancakes and eggs.
5. Offer Praise, But Be Genuine
Every scribble isn’t worthy of the fridge. Those are just the facts of life. Teaching your child that the best they can do warrants praise keeps them striving for more. Remember, though, that every child excels in a different area. Make sure you are praising regularly for their personal best, no matter how you feel it compares to others.
6. Trust Them
It’s difficult not to hover, at any age. Giving our children a bit of wiggle room allows them a chance to show us what they can do, and who they are becoming. You’ll be surprised what your child can do with a bit of guidance, acceptance and trust. Make sure they know you’re available if they need some help. Then, watch and see.
7. Accept Them As Individuals
What Sally does well, Suzie may not do as well—yet or maybe ever. This goes for “normal” developmental and academic milestones, too. Do not compare children against each other. It will disappoint you and worry you unnecessarily. Our job as parents is to foster an environment of growth and development. You may think you’re hiding your concerns, but your children can feel it. Kids are great at picking up facial expressions and general feelings. There are a million reasons to be proud of your kids, so be proud.
8. Find One-on-One Time With Each Child
I have three kids. I know this is next to impossible at times, but it’s so important. We’re not raising a group. We’re raising individual people. Every time I find the time to be one-on-one, I learn so much more about each of my kiddos. It’s worth the extra effort.
9. Give Them Chores
A good, strong work ethic will only benefit children. It also gives them the opportunity to earn genuine praise for their own accomplishments.
10. Let Them Hear You Gush
Children hear everything. Sometimes, it’s selective, but they prove time and again they are always listening when they hear the bag of Cheetos open from across the house. Find moments in your day where you can gush about your children, just out of earshot. Hearing compliments will help them embrace themselves.
So there you have it: 10 simple ways to foster confidence in your kids. Confidence is a learned skill, and not one they’ll inherently learn without you.
Here are a few books to check out while working to foster self-confidence
*Try this book about self-affirmations!
*Try this book about finding things to love about yourself!
*Try this book about the value of chores!
About the Author
Laura Kuehl moved to Appleton, Wisconsin, from the Madison area. She holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice client services and spent several years working for a local domestic violence agency before deciding to become a full-time stay-at-home mom. She runs a local mom’s networking and support group, and serves avidly on her child’s school’s Parent-Teacher Organization. Passionate about helping people, Laura has decided to continue advocating for families by writing books for children with an uplifting message. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and three beautiful children, as well as thrifting, reading and gardening.
Feature photo credit to Ally Frantz Photography
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