Confidence – that magical trait which all parents want their child to be in possession of. What makes a confident child? Is it nature or nurture? Research suggests it’s some of both – while some children are born socially gifted, others can certainly be trained into the habit of self-belief and self-confidence. So here are some top tips to ensure that you’re well-armed when it comes to helping your child be at their confident best at all times.
It starts early
You can’t begin too soon. From birth, most children are protected from the harsher realities of the world by loving parents but there’s a fine line between protecting and smothering. As your baby grows into a toddler, it can be difficult to loosen the reins and let them experience a few bumps on the road to growth and learning. But it’s vital that we do loosen the reins. If we protect toddlers from every single knock and bump, they won’t learn how to navigate as quickly or as confidently as they might otherwise do when left to their own discovery.
Provide your toddler with many safe opportunities to explore the world physically and mentally. Take them to parks, gardens, play centres, libraries, museums, and playgroups. Allow them to climb appropriately, to touch and experience different textures and materials. Allow them to get dirty! Talk to them constantly – offer positive reinforcements when they successfully navigate a new environment. Praise them for trying new things and commiserate – but briefly – when they fall.
Small children are like sponges – let them see you in action and at your most confident. You are their best role model and it’s to you they will look when they come to measure their own successes.
As they grow
Once children reach school age, some experience a period of shyness or difficulty relinquishing their attachment to you as carer. A new environment, exposure to new people and routines can cause all sorts of emotions to rise to the surface. Talk them through these times by naming their emotions. Little children have no experience of emotions in an intellectual way so they can’t always make sense of strong feelings.
If a child has never felt jealousy or insecurity before, then how can they process that emotion without a name for it? Discuss their feelings with them and let them know that they are valid and normal. Give them the tools they need to become the confident, outspoken individuals you know they can be.
Schools can also be supportive when it comes to helping children to feel more confident. This prep school in London offers many strategies to nurture children and to help them grow into confident young adults.
Note: This is a collaborative post