Self-confidence is how children see themselves in terms of being worthy and able to handle things.
Self-confidence development begins in infancy and continues throughout adulthood. While you can’t protect your child from getting their feelings hurt or from ever failing, there are things you can do to encourage your child’s self-confidence.
- Accept your child’s personality and talents.
- When your child feels accepted for who they are, it creates a sense of being valued. Feeling valued is needed for self-confidence to develop.
- Don’t compare your child’s talents and interests to other children. Encourage your child’s interests by finding something they enjoy, and enjoy it with him. If you don’t enjoy math but your child does, find a math game that you can play together.
- Give your child praise for positive behaviors, efforts and successes.
- Positive praise for an action provides your child the reassurance needed to strive to do their best. The self-message of “I can do this” is present even when you are not.
- Praise your child for positive actions, no matter how small they may seem to you. However, don’t provide false praise. Your child will notice the insincerity of your praises. If you can’t provide praise, provide positive guidance to turn the negative behavior into a positive behavior.
- Give specific praise such as, “You did a great job of having patience and finishing your puzzle.”
- Give your child positive feedback when your child feels like “I can’t do this.”
- Positive feedback helps your child learn how to use positive self-talk versus feeling self-defeated when encountering a learning challenge or a mistake.
- Don’t remind your child of past mistakes or failures. Provide guidance and encouragement on how to overcome a challenge or learn from a mistake.
- When reading together, acknowledge the words your child gets right and guide your child to sound out the other words.
- Give your child opportunities to make decisions and complete tasks that are appropriate for your child’s age and ability.
- Having responsibility to make decisions and being successful builds your child’s self-confidence and decision-making skills.
- Give your child opportunities to help with making some decisions for themselves and for the family. Let your child create the family dinner menu for one night.
Helping build these self-confidence skills early will help your child handle insecurities that may come in the future. A child with healthy self-confidence believes they are capable, valued and accepted for who they are.
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