Building confidence in children in their formative years

Let’s face it – we would all love to have confident kids, wouldn’t we?

Of course, as parents we CAN have an impact on our child’s confidence and obviously their general development but there are a couple of myths we need to dispel first!

The first one is that people are either confident OR totally insecure. In real life, we all feel bad about SOMETHING in our life, at some time, don’t we? We can’t feel absolutely good about everything! It’s impossible. So, if a child is confident at say – swimming, athletics or gymnastics, he may feel totally under confident in his academic work, or music and art.

The second myth is that “Praise helps people feel confident”. Wrong, in fact “hollow” praise actually can diminish a person’s self – esteem and self- belief. A child has to feel genuinely competent in those things that matter to him.

Naturally, not everyone is an expert at everything they do, especially right at the beginning when they are still learning. A child who is lacking in self-confidence usually has a problem with being persistent enough to see things through. Sometimes they don’t have the patience to sit and works things out. This is when mum and dad come in, here are a few tips.

  1. Teach your child to understand his or her strengths and weaknesses. Explaining that just before they may be a bit weak at something it doesn’t mean they will never be able to do it! Perhaps you could make a list with him – 1 being what he is excellent at and 10 being his weakest thing.
  2. Help your child to find some different activities, books, or music around his area of interest, this will keep his interest keen and his self-confidence will grow. Celebrate the small steps! Say things like: “Gosh, you’ve done so well with that Lego – I bet you are glad you stuck with it and persevered aren’t you! “. Always hinting that if they stick with something for long enough, they will usually get great results.
  3. Be there when he needs help and encouragement. “OK let’s see if I can give you just a little bit of help on this but I’m sure you’ll be able to do it yourself!”
  4. Teaching a child how to have a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset is really important in helping them to grow their confidence.
  5. When they say things like “I’ll NEVER be able to do THAT!” you could say. “That’s not quite true – if you keep trying or practicing you could possibly get very good at it – you have to start somewhere! You should just say “I can’t do that YET!” Children will always encounter setbacks but its HOW they deal with those setbacks that will help their confidence. Let your child FAIL sometimes! I know we all want to protect our kids and get them to be the best they can possibly be but if they never experience failure they will never move forward! Let them win most board games but do let them lose at the odd one!  When they are learning to ride a bike – you HAVE to let them go eventually to do it on their own. A child who learns to take risks and learns that he can recover will grow in confidence.

However, if you feel you are at a standstill and cannot move your child forward in his confidence – why not contact me at

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