Inspiring Self Confidence in Children
Boosting your child’s self-confidence could be the most impactful thing you ever do as a parent.
Low self-esteem and fear of failure are the enemies of confidence and traits which, if they go unchallenged can have a damaging effect on your child’s emotional growth.
We’ve pieced together the most helpful tips for building your child’s confidence from some of the world’s best subject matter experts. These include Paul Harris of Harvard University , parenting author Carl Pickhardt , Dr Jim Taylor and growth mindset pioneer Carol Dweck.
Keep reading for 17 practical tips on raising confident children.
1. Lead by example
For the first few years of their life a child views their parent as God, so it is up to you to be the person that you want your child to become. Be the role model they will aspire to be.
Setting a positive self-image when you are in front of your child will show them that confidence is ok. Acknowledging your faults but not dwelling on them removes the victim and will allow your child to see that growth and development is more important than focussing on problems.
2. Set realistic goals
Setting mini-goals is a fundamental part of having a growth mindset.
Breaking down new challenges or difficult tasks into realistic small goals will build confidence in your child by allowing them to achieve regular portions of success.
If you apply too much pressure then you run the risk of overwhelming them and damaging their self-esteem.
3. Failure isn’t final
Striving for the winning goal should always be the aim but not reaching it shouldn’t be final. It’s important for a child’s self-esteem that they understand that they won’t be able to win at everything.
If you overcompensate by giving prizes for simply turning up then you give young children a false sense of self confidence which will ultimately be shattered the first time they fail without you.
4. Encourage learning
Paul Harris of Harvard University told The Guardian that asking questions is a helpful exercise for a child’s development because it means they realize that “there are things they don’t know … that there are invisible worlds of knowledge they have never visited.”
Improving their depth of understanding will grow your child’s confidence simply because they know new things and develop new skills.
This is especially important for the eldest child to do as they inadvertently become the role model for younger siblings.
5. Teach responsibility
Giving children a healthy amount of responsibility is the best way for them to understand how to deal with pressure and value the effort of hard work.
An easy way to start this off would be to set them household chores , something that they view as an important job that they can take ownership of.
Handling responsibility will improve their self confidence as they begin to know that they can do things independently without parental help.
6. Don’t Judge
“More often than not, parental criticism reduces the child’s self-valuing and motivation,” says Pickhardt
There’s nothing more damaging to a child’s self-esteem than being given a hard time by someone who they look to for inspiration.
Always try building confidence using an asset based approach, working on the positive things they’ve done, not spending time challenging things.
7. Embrace extracurricular activities
New activities beyond school and home are a simple way to ease your child out of their comfort zone.
A good example of this would be to introduce them to a local youth club or community organisation where they can do new things and meet new people in an unfamiliar environment.
Young people will naturally gravitate towards others and build positive self-esteem as those relationships strengthen. Research shows that this is especially effective if done at a young age.
8. Praise at every opportunity
In the same way that negativity is damaging, positive feedback is empowering.
Next time your child does a good job of something, make sure that you tell them and let them know how proud you are. Young kids will develop a passion for success if they receive praise for it.
Praising seemingly minor achievements like doing well on a spelling test or getting good grades will have a big impact on the confidence they have in their own abilities.
9. Express your love
Showing your children that you have unconditional love for them will inspire a confident sense of self.
The reason for this is that if they know that they are loved then they will spend less time searching for it from you or in other things.
It is the absence of love that sparks that initial lack of confidence. Proving to them that they have it already, means that their initial confidence level is naturally higher.
10. Give them your time
One of the greatest gifts we can give our children at a young age is our time.
Little kids are much more receptive to learning than adults, so this is when you should be spending the most time with them.
Taking time teaching an important life skill while they’re young, such as remembering to make eye contact with someone when you speak to them, is likely to live long in their memories.
11. Acknowledge differences
As grown-ups we know perfection is unrealistic and everyone is different. It’s important for young people to get that message as early as possible.
Help kids see that whether it’s on social media or in real life, the idea that others are always happy, successful, and perfectly dressed is unrealistic.
Instead, remind them that being less than perfect is human and teach them to celebrate diversity.
12. Show examples of inspiration
Confident people are happy to take inspiration from the success stories of others. We should all help kids by looking at the great things that other people have done and encourage them to do the same.
13. Discourage procrastination
Procrastination is the enemy of success therefore it should be avoided at all costs.
Harmony Shu, a piano prodigy, told Ellen DeGeneres that she started practicing when she was just 3 years old.
Success was a long way off at that point but without investing her time into practicing instead of procrastinating she would have never scaled the musical heights that she has.
14. Bring a smile
Healthy self-confidence should be worn across your child’s face. Getting them to project confidence by smiling will help that vision become a reality.
If you teach your child to project happiness then this will become infectious, they will be that beacon of light that others are drawn to.
15. Teach self love
Recognising one’s own strengths is important in knowing what direction you want to move in and for what purpose.
Inspire your child’s self esteem by teaching them to appreciate themselves and what they do well.
16. Encourage commitment
Commitment is something that everyone needs but very few people have.
Teaching your child when they are young to stick to new tasks until they are completed is a great way to ensure that the lesson stays with them for life.
As we’ve already discussed, by committing to completing tasks, children’s confidence will grow as they feel rewarded for it.
17. Take them to a sports club
Perhaps the most controversial on the list but one that we believe is a good idea for any parent to adhere to.
Sports are a great metaphor for life, there are always ups and downs but the way that you play will ultimately determine your experience.
Exposing them to physical activities is a simple way to get your child to face challenges and learn how to deal with them. They will soon learn that winning at the first try won’t always be the case and healthy self-esteem will develop the more that they play.
The important thing to remember from these points is that confidence comes from encouragement, love and inspiring your child.
As their parents, there are simple things that you can do to increase their confidence and help them grow and develop into inspirational people themselves.
If you’ve enjoyed reading about these handy hints and tips then be sure to check out our Growth Mindset article, giving you all the mind hacks that you need!
Inspiring Self Confidence in Children Boosting your child’s self-confidence could be the most impactful thing you ever do as a parent. Low self-esteem and fear
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