How to bring up a confident child

Self-confidence is crucial for your child’s wellbeing – right from the start.

Self-esteem comes from knowing that you’re loved and accepted unconditionally and that you have value. You can lay the groundwork for a happy, confident child by responding when your baby cries and giving lots of cuddles and smiles.

In their toddler years, boosting your child’s confidence is crucial for their language, learning, and social, emotional and motor development. Here’s how:

Structure their day
Toddlers love routine because this allows them to know what to expect next. This makes the world a less scary place and they become confident about their surroundings. Make sure that their meal times and nap/bedtimes happen around the same time daily and that their evening routine follows the same order every night.

Allow independence
Toddlers are beginning to develop their self-identity and an understanding of what they can do and what makes them who they are. They’re beginning to realise that they have the power to make things happen. Let your toddler make reasonable decisions, for example, what to have on their sandwich, which gives them a sense of control. Also allow them to say ‘no’ occasionally!

Encourage play
Children learn through play, so allow plenty of this throughout the day. Their desire to learn new things sometimes comes across as naughtiness, but try to channel their curiosity rather than curb it. Offer lots of praise for good social behaviour, such as learning to share.

Use affirming words
Words contain power, especially for children. Build your child’s confidence by affirming them often. Let them know that you see them as clever, special and valued. Tell your child you love them and use words of encouragement and celebration, such as ‘you can do it’ and ‘great job’, to show you’re proud of them.

Discipline with love
Kids can get into all sorts of trouble, but bear in mind that there’s a difference between childish irresponsibility and blatant defiance. Discipline them when it’s called for, but do it in a way that is age appropriate. Avoid breaking down their character with words such as ‘stupid’ and ‘bad’. When it’s done in a loving way, discipline can be the best thing you do for your child.

Help them get it right
Whether your little one is struggling to place a puzzle piece or to balance their building blocks, it’s important that you coach or encourage them to solve the problem on their own. Guide your child, but avoid the urge to do it for them. This way they become confident in their own ability to solve future problems.

Read more on how to boost an older child’s confidence.


Picture: Gallo Images