Ways to Build Kids' Confidence

Everyone wants to raise a confident kid. Lots of parents put an emphasis on getting kids ready for school-related activities and on praising their children’s every move. But, it is important not to overlook building skills that make a children confident in their abilities to handle physical activities and basic life skills. A child who knows how to take care of himself in an age appropriate way and who is not afraid to tackle new challenges because he has succeeded in the past is a confident child.

Life skills build confidence

You do not need special tools, skills or space to have a child feel confident and accomplished in his ability to care for himself. Starting from about age three, encourage your child to do things for himself - putting on socks, shoes, shirts, etc., combing her hair, feeding herself and even letting her make a few decisions on her own.

Don’t worry if her efforts are haphazard or if things are exactly perfect - she’ll learn. As your child gets older, start having her help to do things like dusting, folding towels, basic cooking skills, and outside tasks like raking leaves. Again, her tasks will not be done perfectly. Resist the urge to “fix” them. With practice, she will improve!

Compliment her efforts and move on to the next thing. Letting your child go to the grocery store in a flannel shirt, tutu and cowboy boots is difficult for a lot of parents. Just remember that most of the people you will run into are parents - they understand!

Get physical

Having your child feel confident trying new physical tasks is as important to her well-being as teaching her to love reading. Children who are encouraged to take reasonable risks early and often are more willing as older children to try new sports and activities. Get outside everyday. Walk, run, go to the park and let her climb the monkey bars (without you shrieking below). Kids are resilient - it’s okay if they fall or make a mistake. Encourage them get back up and try again.

If you’re out on a walk, let your child choose your path - at corners ask her whether you go right, left or straight. See if she can guide you all the way back home. You can do the same thing while you’re in the car running errands (within reason, of course). Not only does it make your child more aware of her surroundings, it gives her a boost because she’s in charge.

Help your child set goals. Start with something like trying to hop on one leg 15 times. When she’s mastered that, help her decide how high to aim next. Set up obstacle courses in the yard using things like hula hoops, jump ropes and baskets. Have your children decide what the course of action should be. If she falls short of her goal, remind her that sometimes it take a little time and that you’re proud of her efforts.

These things seem simple on their face, but helping your child develop real life and real physical skills will go a long way in building their confidence for life.

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