Young children are, often, curious, expressive, and adventurous; they are fearless little souls, who are not afraid of anything. However, some children are not and can lack self-confidence depending upon their environment. This blog details how to nurture your little one and foster a child who is self-confident and able to take on the world.
What is self-confidence?
When a child is self-confident they believe that they are capable and are secure in their abilities; they have positive self-esteem. Self-confident children value themselves and reach their full potential.
There are many benefits for children who are self-confident:
- They feel capable of trying new things and facing challenges head-on – Your child’s ability to be adaptable and resilient is heavily impacted by their self-confidence. When they trust their abilities, they recover from tough situations easily. They understand that the tough situation can be overcome, and they do not dwell on the event or internalize the situation.
- They perform well at school – A self-confident child does well in school because they believe they can. They are more motivated to ask questions, and to put effort into learning the material.
- They are more likely to have a growth mindset – What is a growth mindset? A child with a growth mindset feels motivated to work hard because they know that they can improve and be successful.
- They have positive interpersonal relationships – Low self-confidence makes social settings and communication very difficult. Children with low self-confidence doubt themselves and believe that others are doubting them too. When a child has positive self-confidence, they feel comfortable in social settings and communicating with others because they like themselves and they believe that it is possible that other people like them as well.
- They act independently and have strong problem-solving skills – Self-confident children are more likely to play independently because they are secure in their abilities. Through their independent play, they build strong problem-solving skills.
- They take responsibility for themselves and their mistakes – Making mistakes is a part of life. We all make mistakes. A self-confident child understands that they are not defined by their mistakes; they learn from their mistakes and make the necessary adjustments so that they do not repeat their mistakes.
Why is it important for children to have positive self-confidence?
Each of the benefits mentioned above proves that positive self-confident children are better equipped to face the world. Conversely, children with low self-confidence are anxious and do not believe that they have the capabilities they need. A child with low self-confidence presents the following characteristics:
- They feel lonely and isolated
- They do not like to try new things and have an avoidant personality
- They have negative self-talk
- They internalize mistakes
- They quit at the first sign of frustration of difficulties
- They focus on the opinions of others about themselves
- They can be controlling or inflexible
- They are anxious
Low self-confidence is very difficult for children. They do not feel valued and tend to act out in ways that are not conducive to their development.
How to Cultivate Self-Confidence in Your Child
As a parent, you are your child’s first teacher. There are many ways to help your child develop self-confidence.
- Lead by example – We should model the behavior, and qualities, that we hope to cultivate in our children; they learn a lot from observing our behavior and, often, they mirror the qualities that we possess.
- Establish routines – Children crave routine. This helps them to feel secure in themselves; they know what to expect and can anticipate the outcomes of situations when they know the expectations. Routines help to establish positive behaviors and allow them to recognize patterns that will help them problem-solve. Even simple things like asking children to help with the housework can help to boost their confidence and wellbeing.
- Let them play – Give them space to play independently! Throughout their day they have a lot of expectations placed on them. Allowing them the freedom to imagine, and create, and play helps them to process things they are learning in a way that is engaging and exciting for them. Children develop many skills through play.
- Focus on their strengths – Your child may not be able to recognize their strengths. It is helpful when parents encourage their child’s strengths. It motivates them to pursue those strengths. Focus on their strengths also validates them as people; they feel seen and purposeful.
- Do not criticize them – We are our children’s inner voices. The comments and critiques we make on their behavior help them shape their understanding of themselves. It is important that we speak to them in a way that is uplifting, thoughtful, and respectful. If we speak to them in this way, they will also speak to themselves in the same way.
- Praise their effort – Your child may not be great at everything. By praising their effort, versus the results, you are recognizing that they are doing their very best. This helps to motivate them even when they are faced with a difficult task. They are not concerned about not being able to do something well but are focused on putting their effort into doing their best.
Throughout the years, your child will develop and change. As they develop you can help guide them towards positive behaviors and qualities. If you want to cultivate self-confidence in your child, you must start by being their example of a self-confident person. Limit the criticism that you dish out to yourself and your child, because how you speak to them (and yourself) helps to shape their inner voice and how they speak to themselves. Focus on uplifting them in a positive and respectful way, making sure to highlight the effort that exhibits. If you focus on their strengths, they are more likely to feel secure and confident.