Start Early and Set the Stage for those Tricky Teen Years
Confidence and self-esteem are essential to living your best life. Some kids are born with unshakeable confidence. Have you ever watched a toddler scale a ladder? They scramble right up, never doubting themselves (or considering their safety 😉).
But as kids get older, and especially when they hit school age, their self-esteem can take a dive. And that’s even before the struggle of the pre-teen and teen years.
It’s important to help your child build their confidence and a strong sense of self now while they are young. In this article we’re going to share 11 ways that parents can help strengthen their child’s confidence and boost their self-esteem. With your help, they’ll have the confidence they need to carry them through their teens and beyond.
11 Ways to Build Your Kid’s Confidence
You are your kid’s best role model. So, it’s important to radiate your own confidence. Focus on positive self-talk. Talk about what you enjoy. Share how you’re working to improve your own skills. Believe in yourself, and watch them follow your lead.
Make Mistakes A Normal Part of Your Day
You drop the bowl of fruit and it goes everywhere. Glass shatters and you’re flustered. It happens to everyone. And even though you know this, it’s hard to go easy on yourself.
But if you want your kids to know that mistakes are ok, you need to give yourself grace. Let them know you’re frustrated (those feelings are ok too), but then move on. Narrate your clean-up, and let them know that it’s no big deal. Accidents happen. And when they do, we fix them and move on.
It’s OK to Fail
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, it just doesn’t work out. But that doesn’t mean that you are a failure. Or that you should never attempt anything new.
If you have a little perfectionist at home, you may already see them refusing to try new activities. Some kids will stop before they even start, especially if they aren’t sure they’ll succeed. And this trait is hard to work through. It takes constant reminders that not getting it right the first time really is ok.
This is another time that modeling plays a huge role. Don’t hide your failures from your child.
Your child will be more comfortable trying something new when they see your own attempts, failures, and successes.
Ask For Their Advice or Opinion.
Your child is an important part of your family. But they may often feel like they don’t have a say in the things that matter. Help them realize that you value their opinion by asking them for it.
It could be a little thing, like letting them choose between two dinner options. But as your child grows up, invite them more into your world. Ask their advice on a tricky social situation, or let them help you plan your schedule for the next week.
After they share their advice and opinion, take it when possible. Let them know you appreciate their input. This will not only be a huge boost to their confidence, but their solution may be exactly what you need to hear.
Encourage Trying and Trying Again
Even though failure is ok, that doesn’t mean that you just stop trying. Sometimes you have to keep going in order to learn and grow.
If you know your kiddo really wants to accomplish something, encourage them to continue trying. Remind them of their goals and what the end result means to them.
The trick here is to resist the urge to step in and help. And also to not push them too hard. Sometimes, it’s ok to quit. If you’ve talked it over, and all your child is feeling is frustration, revisit the situation later, or even scrap it altogether. Sometimes the learning moment is that it’s simply time to move on.
Support Their Passions
To help your kid feel more confident, it’s important to support their interests. What they love is valid and not trivial, especially to them.
As a parent, it’s hard to stay invested in hours of monster truck or unicorn facts, and that’s ok. It doesn’t have to be your passion too. Just make sure to not laugh or scoff at their interests. Don’t push things on them that you feel are more important. Get involved in their pursuits when you can. But the main thing is to let them know that you support them.
Point Out Achievements
No matter how tiny, tell them that you’ve noticed. Kids love to be acknowledged for their achievements. And little things to you may be big things to them.
Sit down and set goals together, both big and small. Then, as they accomplish these goals, share their wins in a special picture frame or celebrate with a fun outing. Setting goals and following through to achieve them are life skills that will carry them throughout their lives.
As mentioned above, some kids seem to be born perfectionists. Even as a baby, my oldest always watched others until he knew he could do something right the first time. But as he’s gotten older, it’s been more difficult for him to learn complicated tasks without practice.
If this struggle sounds familiar, there are a few things you can try. First, encourage more open-ended play. Art and play that do not include a specific end result are great for stretching a perfectionist mindset. Our Scratchy Scratch Paper is a great art option. Even if your child “messes up” they are still left with something bright and beautiful!
Modeling is another great tool to use here. And celebrating successes, even when they fall a little short. Battling perfectionism is a long journey, but it can be done. Keep it up and your child will learn how to handle mistakes and confidently move on.
Let Them Help
Come up with some age-appropriate chores your littles can help with. Younger kiddos (toddlers and preschoolers especially) love to help out. Folding laundry, sweeping, drying dishes are all great choices. Letting your child help you with everyday tasks takes a lot of patience, but it’s worth it.
If your older, elementary-aged child has lost that desire to help, find some out-of-the-ordinary tasks for them to complete. Cooking, baking, gardening, or other outdoor tasks are good ways to break up the boredom of room cleaning and bed making.
Let them stretch beyond the easy and ordinary and watch their confidence grow.
Share All of the Emotions
Both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ emotions have their place. Let your child know that no emotion is off-limits, even though certain actions are (“it’s ok to be angry, but you can’t hit your brother”).
Your child needs to know that everything they feel is valid. And that no matter what, you are there for them. Knowing that they have a safe space to share will help them better process their feelings. And when they are comfortable with their feelings they will develop more confidence in themselves.
Show the Love
You tell your kids that you love them every day. But how do you show it?
Kids love to connect through play. When possible, find time to play with your child. Let them take the lead and enjoy being silly together.
You don’t have to always be available. And you aren’t expected to sit and play tea party for hours. But when your child asks for playtime, and you take that break for them (even if only for a few minutes), they will feel the love. Your connection with your child will grow. They will feel important, and their self-esteem will blossom.
Raising a confident child sets them up for future happiness and success, no matter what they choose to pursue. If you put in the extra work now, they’ll be set up for a less bumpy ride through their teens.
Looking for a FREE printable that’s sure to boost your daughter’s self-esteem? Download our Girl Power Booklet here!