These 7 simple practices can help build confidence in your children from a young age to help turn them into resilient adults.
What’s great about children, is that naturally, they have a lot of confidence. Dare I say, sometimes they have too much confidence? Cut to my 2 year old attempting to put peanut butter on his own waffle, and instead covering his new pants in it instead.
They haven’t been in the world long enough to have experienced some of the confidence-crushing experiences we have as teenagers and adults. And, in my opinion, this why it is essential for us as parents to help build their self-confidence at this time in their lives. Build it early and they’ll learn to be more resilient, independent little humans from a young age.
Does that mean they’ll never need us? Of course not!
But, as we know, self-confidence and self-worth can go a long way. Teaching our kids to be confident can boost their self-esteem, resiliency and independence. I fully admit that having a five year old who suddenly wants to do things on his own is a little sad…for me.
I often want to hold onto those baby years where my kids are little and do depend on me. Who doesn’t want to feel wanted? But at the same time, watching him come into his own, find his own interests, and become a bold little man warms my heart.
One thing I’ve realized in my 5 years as a parent is that my kids are usually more capable than what I give them credit for.
They want to be challenged. They’re curious, excited and ready to learn, and you learn best by doing! Does that mean messes? Sure, but messes within reason are okay, and as we all know—just part of being a parent.
To help our kids become more confident, we can do a few things at home to boost their self-esteem, create safe space for them to be independent and grow. These 7 simple practices will help boost their independence and self-worth. But before we dive in, what exactly is confidence?
What is Confidence?
Confidence means feeling sure of yourself and your abilities. Who doesn’t want their kids to feel this way? While they won’t feel confident all the time in every situation, as parents we can help boost their confidence and self-esteem so that they feel good about who they are and how they show up in the world.
Being confident is not:
- Being right all the time or thinking you’re better than others
- Never-showing emotion or keeping a brave face no matter what
7 Simple Ways to Build Confidence in your Kids Starting Today
Model It For your Kids
Our kids learn so much just by observing what’s happening around them. If you’re walking around saying things like, “I never get promoted, I’m terrible at my job, it’s hard for me to make friends,” and you’re constantly complaining about how everything sucks. Guess what? They’re going to pick up on that.
But, if we can model confidence for them, and work to boost our own self-esteem and pay attention to the way we talk about ourselves, then we can create really great habits for our children.
This is also how I like to model gratitude for our kids, because that’s another tough one to teach! I often say things like, “aren’t we lucky to live in this beautiful state?” Or, “how lucky are we to have a nice cozy warm house“. It’s little things like this that not only make our kids aware of it, but also starts teaching them the basics of living with gratitude and awareness. Which in turn helps build confidence.
Give Kids Safe Space to Try New Things
My kids love learning how to do new things! Making cookies, chopping veggies, pouring water, turning on the bath—the list goes on. It makes them feel independent, smart and capable and I love that. The look on their faces when they’ve mastered a new skill is priceless—they’re just beaming with pride. And, as parent, what an awesome feeling, right?
Give your kids the space and opportunity to try new things, obviously, be aware of what is age appropriate and safe. For example, for making cookies—they get to mix and pour ingredients in, not take the hot pan out of the oven.
I’ve taken on a new approach that when my kids ask to do something, if it’s something safe and I have the time, I’ll say yes and teach them. Just the other day, my kids learned how to start the dryer. Just a few more years and I’ll be off the hook 😉
Allow Them to Help
I’ve found that my kids love to help and feel like their a part of what happens in our house. It sounds like chores, but we call them “big boy jobs” in our house, and my son LOVES them! The more big boy jobs he gets, the more confident he gets, and the better his behavior gets.
When we treat kids with more maturity and give them space to prove to us and themselves that they are capable, we naturally build their self-esteem and self-worth.
A few big kid jobs we’ve added to his list: taking his plate to the sink after dinner, putting his lunchbox on the counter after school, making his bed, cleaning up his toys, getting himself dressed, helping get the breakfast ingredients out in the morning.
They’re little things now, but I know this will help build confidence and create a self-sufficient teenager and eventually adult. What a gift to give your kids, right?
Praise Them, But Don’t Overdo It
Kids love to be noticed when they do something great, but be careful to not overdo it. For example, let’s say your child plays in a soccer game and doesn’t play well and they lose. Your child is upset and feels defeated. Instead of trying to push off their feeling and simply telling them they played awesome when in fact they did not, allow them to express their feelings and remind them that you’re proud of them for trying.
Over the top praise doesn’t feel genuine when it wasn’t earned. Sticking to a more honest approach is more authentic and can help kids learn to manage expectations and deal with disappointment better in the long-run.
Focus on praising good efforts as well, not just when they complete a task or achieve a goal. The act of putting yourself out there and trying something new is often scary for kids. Receiving praise for trying something or being brave feels so good for them.
Focus on Their Strengths
You might want your kid to be a star athlete, but if they’re really more into arts and crafts, let it be! That’s the joy of children—they’re uniquely their own, and watching them grow and figure out what they like and are good at it is honestly one of my favorite things as a parent.
It’s so special to nurture the things that light them up. When you focus on their strengths, you allow them to become more of who they are, and when they feel good with themselves, their confidence will naturally be boosted.
Avoid Harsh Criticism
Kids are learning—constantly. One way they learn is by making mistakes. Don’t we all?
So, before we dive into harsh criticism, consider whether the offense is worth what you’re about to say. I realize as a parent this is sometimes very challenging, especially if you’ve had a hard day.
Patience and understanding will go so much further than harsh words that can damage your child’s self-esteem. Calmly explain to your kids why we don’t do certain things so they can understand and do better the next time.
Ask About Their Day
At dinner, we encourage the kids to talk about their day. What they’ve learned, who they played with or made friends with, anything that was fun or not so fun. This allows them to get comfortable talking about their feelings in a safe space. A goal for me is that our home is always always a safe space for our kids as it was for me growing up.
Simply involving them and treating them like anyone else at the dinner table boosts their self-esteem and creates confidence. I’ve found that it helps my kids feel comfortable talking with other adults as well.
Try working these practices into your everyday life to simply build confidence in your children.
BTW, 8 simple ways to create stress-free mornings with kids, and 9 tips for taking care of yourself after having a baby.