Raising Confident Children
Right from birth, kids learn new skills at lightning speed. Along with these new abilities and skills, they acquire the confidence to use them. You might watch a two-year-old struggle to master putting the correct blocks in a shape sorter and then do the task again and again.
Right from birth, kids learn new skills at lightning speed. Along with these new abilities and skills, they acquire the confidence to use them. You might watch a two-year-old struggle to master putting the correct blocks in a shape sorter and then do the task again and again. Children have the innate ability to self-correct and the confidence to show off their new skills. To thrive, children need to trust in their own capabilities while knowing that they can handle even if they aren’t successful at something. Experiencing proficiency and being able to rebound from failure help develop healthy self-confidence.
We can help children feel capable and get the most mileage out of their skills and talents. Seeing you, the parent, caregiver, or sibling, tackle new tasks with optimism sets a good example for children. Help children see that everyone makes mistakes and the important thing is to learn from them, not dwell on them.
Confident people don’t let fear of failure get in their way; similarly, children can learn how to take setbacks in stride. Attaining new skills makes children feel capable and confident by tackling whatever comes their way. It’s natural to want to protect your child from failure, but trial and error is how kids learn, and falling short on a goal helps children find out that it’s not disastrous.
Learning not to give up at the first frustration is an important life skill.
Encourage children to try new things by exploring their own interests can help them develop a sense of identity, which is essential to building confidence. Of course, seeing their talents grow will give a huge boost to their self-esteem. Don’t forget to celebrate challenges that your child meets head on successfully.
Praising children for their accomplishments is great, but it’s also important to let them know you’re proud of their efforts regardless of the outcome. It takes hard work to develop new skills, and results aren’t always immediate. Let children know you value the work they’re doing, whether they’re toddlers building with blocks or teenagers teaching themselves to play the guitar. They might complain, but children feel more connected and valued when they’re counted on to do age-appropriate jobs.
As grown-ups, we know perfection is unrealistic, and it’s important for children to learn that message as early as possible. Help them to see that whether it’s on television, in a magazine, or on a friend’s social media feed, the idea that others are always happy, successful, and perfectly dressed is a fantasy. Instead, remind them that being less than perfect is human and totally okay. Challenges are good for children, but they should also have opportunities where they can be sure to find success.
Help your children get involved with activities that make them feel comfortable and confident enough to tackle bigger challenges. Let your children know you love them no matter what. Making sure your children know that you think they’re great — and not just when they do great things — will bolster their self-worth even if they are not feeling positive about themselves.
Anne E. Mead, Ed. D., is the administrator for the Early Childhood Education and Extended Learning Programs of the Danbury Public Schools. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact her at 203-830-6508 or email@example.com. ct.us.