It’s such a fulfilment for parents to see their child go through life confidently and with heads held high—but not all kids are born with such readiness to face the world. It takes a nurturing and enabling environment to bolster his self-esteem. A child needs encouragement and affirmation to be convinced that he is good enough and as parents, you have the power to build him up.
Wondering how? Make a habit of these tips.
#1 Acknowledge him for a job well done
Praise your child when he deserves it. It could be after finishing a task, placing in a competition, or performing a simple act of kindness. Kids love hearing positive feedback and knowing they did the right thing. But don’t make it seem like he has to be perfect. Acknowledge his work even if he didn’t end up a winner or on top of the class. Let him know as long as he did his best, there’s no need to be ashamed.
#2 Develop his decision-making skills
Although kids are not expected to make decisions for themselves all the time, you can try to practice his decision-making skills when the opportunity comes up. Start with small tasks that need your child’s judgment: what toy to buy or what summer class to take, for example. Trust that even at a young age, he can make decisions for himself. It’s not the act that will make him feel confident, it’s your confidence in him.
#3 Enable curiosity
One of the most fascinating things about kids is their sense of wonder: they’re curious about almost everything. Fuel this kind of energy in him by exposing him to different places, events, or cultures. Tell him it’s okay to speak up—while remaining to be respectful—and to not be afraid to ask questions about the things he wants to know.
#4 Promote positive self-talk
A person’s confidence starts within and a child’s formative years are crucial in establishing self-esteem. Affirm your child’s strengths and skills this early on. Show him the goodness in qualities or traits he has, and cite how these can make him unique.
#5 Let him do things on his own
Parents can be overprotective, sometimes to the point of not letting their child take risks. You can still be protective while giving your child the freedom to do the things he loves. Confident children are those who are willing to experience new things and are not scared to fail.
#6 Hone his social skills
If a child knows how to interact with other people, he’s most likely to be confident. Instilling confidence in a kid also requires giving her a venue to meet and mingle with fellow kids and appreciate different perspectives. A child who isn’t afraid of the crowd will most likely grow up to be someone who isn’t scared to be himself around people.
#7 Support his passion
Make him feel more empowered by showing him your support and enabling him to learn more about the things he’s interested in. If your child excels at something, say painting or coding, help him reach his full potential by coaching or providing the tools he needs.
#8 Teach resilience
Confidence isn’t just about knowing what to do and facing it head on. It’s also about being able to bounce back after a setback. Teach your child how to be resilient when he’s not able to achieve a goal. You can help him reflect on his actions that led to the outcome and help him realise what could be done next time to lead him to success.