Children generally believe what they are told, so it will come as no surprise that you can enhance their confidence by using a positive tone and telling your toddler that they are loved, liked and wanted. That is why confidence is an essential ingredient for all aspects of your toddler’s healthy development and a key ingredient for school success.
Here are six excellent ways to develop your child’s self-confidence and promote healthy social and emotional development:
- Love your child. Always give lots of love. Your child needs to feel welcomed and loved, starting with you, the parent and other groups including friends, schoolmates, sports teams, and the community. Give your child a hug and tell her you love her no matter what the situation may be.
- Give praise where praise is due. Giving your child praise and positive feedback is important since children, especially young ones, measure their worth and achievements by what you think. However, be realistic in giving praise. If a child fails to achieve anything or shows no talent for a particular skill, praise the effort, but do not praise the results unrealistically. Reassure your child that it’s OK not to be able to do it all. Tell him that some things take regular practice and it’s okay to move on even after you’ve put your best effort into it.
- Instill self-love and positive self-talk. Before you can teach your child to love himself or herself, you have to love yourself first. By rewarding and praising yourself when you do well, you can instill this behavior. Whether you’re running a marathon, getting a job promotion, or having a good dinner party, share your achievements with your kids. Think about the abilities, strengths, and resources you need to attain those accomplishments. You should remind your child that he or she has so many different qualities to build on and in time will learn to use them well.
- Teach resilience. Nobody succeeds at everything all the time. We experience setbacks, failures, criticism, and pain. These hurdles can be used as learning experiences rather than dwelling on these as failures or disappointments. The familiar saying, “Try until you succeed,” has merit, especially when encouraging kids not to give up. Yet, it is also vital to validate your child’s feelings rather than saying, “You shouldn’t feel so bad,” or, “Oh, just cheer up.” It helps kids learn to trust and feel comfortable expressing their feelings. Children will learn that failures are and can be handled as a normal part of life. If your child is doing badly on a test, don’t discourage him or tell him he’s not going to be a good writer. Alternatively, explore what steps he should take next time to do better. He will take pride in his success if he succeeds.
- Promote sports or other physical activities. Sports help children build confidence. They discover that they can practice, improve, achieve goals, recognize their strengths, strengthen their weaknesses, deal with defeat, and expand their circle of friends. Staying fit and learning to respect their bodies is another bonus. Try to find a physical activity that suits them, whether it’s dance, martial arts, biking, or hiking.
- Encourage independence and adventure. Confident children are willing to try new things without being concerned with failure. Give your child the opportunity to establish circumstances where she can do something safely and independently. Grant them the space to learn and let the fun begin. You can show your child how to make a sandwich, for example, and then let them try it on their own, without intervening. Encourage curiosity, whether it is a mealtime ride to a new outdoor park or new food court. Day trips and excursions, new hobbies, holidays and trips with teammates or schoolmates can all broaden the horizons of your child and build confidence in his or her ability to deal with new situations.