13/05/2016 - reading time: 6 min

Increase your child’s self confidence

As a parent, you want to ensure that your children are self-confident. But how do you do that? Guest blogger and teacher Shelby Vos-van Andel has written a blog about self-esteem in children and has 10 handy tips to help increase self-confidence in your child.

Confidence is a very important mental factor for an athlete. In order to be able to perform physically, an athlete needs self-confidence. The same is true for a child when taking exams and tests. If you lack confidence, your mental performance will be affected and you will not be able to perform effectively. It is logical then, that we as parents, want to establish confidence in our children from a young age.

How do you develop self-confidence in children?

Self-confidence is defined by the Oxford English dictionary as; “A feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities, and judgment”. Having self-confidence leads to growth and development. During the first years of life, young children have not yet developed an awareness of self-confidence. Between the age of 4 and 5 years old children gain more confidence in various areas, including:

  • Motor skills such as climbing, scrambling and playing with toys. This allows them to undertake many activities themselves. ‘Mum, look how high I can climb!’.
  • Mental skills such as thinking, planning and problem solving.
  • Dealing with failure and frustration. For example, losing at a game of tag. The ability of perseverance and concentrating longer on a task fits in here.
  • Playing fantasy games. In their fantasy play, children can retire to an imaginary world that adults often do not understand. This is an important step towards greater independence.

Self-confidence in preschool children: Look, I can do it myself!

The feeling of competence is an important factor in the confidence of preschoolers. That is, a child feels that he can do something. If you constantly help your toddler put on his coat, for example, he will continue to think that he cannot do it himself. If you teach him to put his coat on himself, your child will be proud. ‘Yes, I can put on my coat! “. This gives a child a very good feeling, i.e. self-confidence. This is a handy trick I taught my nursery aged children to teach them how to put on their coat.
Source: www.opgroeikaarten.nl. Text continues under picture.

zelfvertrouwen voor kinderen It is sometimes the small things that stimulate a child. By giving a child a little bit of responsibility and allowing him to do some things himself, you stimulate your child’s development and in return, build their self-confidence.

Self confidence in years 2 and 3

Zelfvertrouwen kinderen

From year 2 children show an increase in social-emotional areas. Not only in interacting with their parents, family, peers and establishing friendships, but also in understanding emotions, and the idea of cause and effect. In summary, the following areas have an impact on the self-confidence of children of primary school age:

1. Daily activities (playing at home and school)
2. Intelligence (can progress at school)
3. Dealing with others (parents, family, friendships)
4. Skills (such as in motoric areas: climbing, games, sports)

Self- confidence in exams for years 4-7

In later primary years, children are increasingly aware of their learning outcomes. This can lead to an increase in anxiety and result in a decrease in self-confidence. Good preparation for a test is the key for creating positive self-belief. Ensure that doubts and uncertainty are also discussed. Sometimes children can suffer from negative thoughts like “I can’t do it” or “Mum will be angry if I fail”. This may justify an anxiety and result in a low self-esteem. Discuss how positive thoughts are much more helpful during a test. “I’ve revised a lot so I can do this, I just need to do my best”.

10 Tips for increased self-confidence in your child

1.  Have confidence in yourself as a parent. Your own self-confidence lays the foundations for your child to develop self-confidence. Even if you have little self-confidence: trust your intuition in parenting.

2. Let yourself go every now and then and be ‘a child’, play and laugh along with your own child. Make time for your child (quality is more important than quantity). Dare to admit to your own mistakes or bad moods, in this way you create an opening for communication on the subjects and you are proof that everyone makes mistakes sometimes.

3. Talk a lot with your child, also about unrealistic expectations. Have patience and take your child seriously; in this way you give your child self-affirmation.

4. Give your child the feeling that he is accepted and wanted (no statements such as “your birth was not planned”). Security and intimacy are very important for the development of self-confidence in young children.

5. Do not compare your child with other children and do not tell him that he has the bad habits of you or your partner. Credit him with his own strengths and uniqueness instead.

6. Praise your child for completing tasks and keeping to agreements. Don’t give insincere compliments, try and ensure they are heartfelt.

7. You do not have to be constantly busy with your child, leave him to his own devices sometimes. Too much parental help is counter productive for a child’s self-confidence.

8. Offer your child structure. That is, make sure that it is clear to both your child and yourself what is expected from him/her. Make sure your child is aware of what behaviour is or is not acceptable.

9. Divide tasks up into achievable goals. Young children often tend to overestimate themselves on their ability to complete certain tasks. Divide these tasks into manageable and achievable chunks. Ask them to set the table for example, or ask your toddler to put the cups next to the plates.

10. Make mistakes negotiable: when a certain task doesn’t work, talk to your child about why it went wrong and ask what lessons they learnt even though the task didn’t work out.

Zelfvertrouwen kinderen

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This blog was written by: Shelby Vos-van Andel – behavioural specialist and primary school teacher. Owner www.oefenenvoorschool.nl.