Raising a self-confident child
Raising a self-confident child is a nuanced job. Education consultant Nathalie Barsoumian discusses the parenting tips that you can use to instil a sense of confidence in your little ones.
Confidence can be challenging. Some children might have natural confidence, while others might need an extra boost from parents and teachers. Self-confidence doesn’t come from a lot of praise, but from accomplishments, effort and attitude. As adults, we must help children build confidence in themselves and their abilities, as it is the key to their success inside and outside the classroom.
WHY IS BUILDING CONFIDENCE IMPORTANT?
Simply put, self-confidence will improve motivation, increase resilience and develop self-esteem in kids. Children with high self-confidence believe in themselves and their ability to achieve their goals and find the will and desire to complete them. With time, your child’s confidence will grow, along with the incentive to stay on track.
As a parent, try to remind your child of their accomplishments to boost their confidence and remind them of what they can do. When your child has self-confidence, they will know how to handle challenging situations and deal with failure. As parents, you want them to learn how to face challenges, learn from their mistakes and try again. Confidence will allow your child to maintain a positive mindset, which will help improve their self-esteem.
HOW TO INSTIL SELF-CONFIDENCE IN CHILDREN
Here, we go through the tips and ways you can use to develop confidence in your child.
Model confidence yourself
When your child sees you tackling new tasks enthusiastically, they will be more prepared to do the same. During the process, focus on the positive things instead of the anxiety and they will emulate you, adopting the approach of a more confident person, until they actually become that way themselves.
Newness is a good thing
Encourage your child to try new things. When children acquire new skills, they will feel more capable and confident that they can face new situations. The more your child faces the fear of trying something new and finds it to be a positive experience, the less afraid they are of new situations in general.
Failure is the best teacher
Allow your child to fail, even though it can feel strange. It’s good to remember that children learn most from trial and error. Therefore, failing will teach children that it’s okay to try something and have it not work out, instilling greater confidence to keep trying. It’s good to frame failure as a ‘first attempt’ at reaching their goals.
Positive feedback fosters confidence
We all like to hear positive reinforcement and kids are no different. Praise perseverance and effort. Children will start to associate effort with positive feelings and feel good about continuing to try, even when it’s difficult. Resilience will then help your child to keep trying even more, building their confidence on the way.
Help your child set realistic goals
Help them turn their dreams into realistic goals, and then develop a small action plan. Doing so will validate their interests and teach them how to achieve their desires, in a way that feels manageable to them.
Activities that help
Find your child some activities that make them feel comfortable. Children need to get involved in activities that they feel successful at or thoroughly happy doing. These experiences are esteem builders and will make them feel confident enough to tackle bigger challenges.
Show your love
Make sure your child knows that you love them no matter what and remind them often. This is really important and is essential to raising a self-confident child.
PLAY, LEARNING AND CONFIDENCE
One of the ultimate ways education consultant Nathalie Barsoumian advises her community to instil self-confidence in children is through play. Play encourages children to develop skills that build self-confidence. During play, kids develop their imagination. They create imaginative dramatic scenarios or get lost in pretend worlds.
They learn conflict resolution when they play and act out different resolutions, and this boosts their confidence. They make their own rules and learn how to adapt them when needed. In Nathalie’s previous years as head of Preschool, she reinvented a safe play and inquiry-based learning space and it was a roaring success in terms of child self-confidence.
Early Childhood Centre
Confidence is essential to a child’s growth and development. When children are confident, they can challenge and motivate themselves to learn new skills and discover the world around them. Nathalie Barsoumian is establishing an early childhood centre that considers confidence building to be central to children’s holistic development. The Handprint Early Learning Centre strongly believes that confidence is key to learning and future success.
Their mission is to drive and mediate young children’s abilities, autonomy and self-confidence through a blended play-based and curiosity-driven approach. The centre provides a well-structured, stimulating, and authentic learning environment that combines safety and comfort with rich and interesting age-appropriate material. Through its innovative and inclusive instruction methods, children will develop their confidence and skills holistically in a safe, supportive, engaging, and appropriately challenging learning environment.
This Handprint Early Learning Centre is a private bilingual nursery and preschool, located here in Dubai, and set to open later this year. The centre provides a happy, trustworthy and sustainable environment for children between 14 months and six years. Nathalie feels an educator’s role is to facilitate learning by observing kids and their interests, and developing a secure environment that pushes children to gain new skills and build their self-confidence, and this is what the centre’s aims are.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
No matter where you choose to send your child for their education, it’s always important to make sure that it’s an environment that supports your child’s confidence and esteem and aligns with your parenting goals. Don’t be afraid to ask educators questions about the curriculum and how their methodologies support confidence building.
THINGS TO AVOID
Now we will look at scenarios to avoid as a parent if you want to instil a sense of true confidence in your children. These are situations and habits that are all too easy to slip into as a mum or dad, but do damage to the goal of fostering self-confidence in children.
Don’t get upset about mistakes
Teach your child that we all make mistakes, and the important thing is to reflect on them and try again. The greatest example of this is when you don’t get upset about mistakes they make. On the other hand, if you do get upset, it teaches kids that they can’t make mistakes which erodes their confidence in trying anything.
Praising your child for their accomplishments is fantastic. However, overpraising can backfire. Praise that doesn’t feel earned, doesn’t ring true. Keep that in mind, and remember to be authentic when you praise, emphasising the effort more than the results.
Harsh words and expressions such as “you are being lazy” are harmful and not motivating. Instead, stay positive in your comments focusing on what you want them to do and guiding them with patience.
HELPFUL PHRASES FOR CONFIDENT KIDS
Sometimes, no matter how good your intentions as a parent, it can be hard to find the right words in the moment. Here are some things to keep in mind to tell your child if the opportunity arises, as they will help boost their self-confidence, as well as your parent-child relationship:
- I can see that you worked so hard on this!
- Tell me more about what you did!
- I love playing with you!
- I love spending time with you!
- How about we try something new?
- I trust that you make good decisions.
With this kind of praise, your child will put effort into things, work toward goals, and most importantly, will have the confidence to try, knowing that they might fail. When your child does that, they are infinitely more likely to succeed. Ultimately, raising a self-confident child is a journey of highlighting and positively reinforcing the right things, such as effort, resilience and the process of trying, whilst also avoiding negative feedback or too much focus on other areas like results, mistakes and failures.
Self-esteem and self-confidence can’t be built in a day and these are ideas that work best when incorporated into your parenting for the long term. That being said, you should see your child’s confidence begin to grow very quickly. However, the longer you parent with confidence in mind, the more unshakeable and permanent kids’ inner confidence will become!