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How to boost your child’s confidence

Self-esteem is the keystone to self-confidence and happiness and begins in early childhood. Imagine what would happen if you constantly criticised your child. By the time they reached their teens they would be plagued with relentless self-doubt and probably exhibit behavioural problems. On the other hand if you support and praise your child you will reap untold rewards; your child will grow up feeling confident, optimistic and resilient.

Here are a few tips on how to foster self-esteem in your children:

Show your love

  • If your child has done something wrong explain why it’s wrong rather than assume that they know.
  • If you yell or lose your temper, it is important to say sorry afterwards – nobody is perfect and it’s good for your child to know that you can make mistakes too.
  • Make sure that you celebrate achievements but take equal care to discuss failures too. If you child does badly on a spelling test, rather than showing pity or saying it doesn’t matter, explain how to improve for next time.
  • Spend time together – play games or read books. Your child needs to know that you relish and enjoy your joint activities.
  • Unconditional love builds a strong foundation for confidence. 

Responsibilities

  • Give your child small tasks to do – the aim is to ask for their help and then praise their efforts.
  • Stars on a chore chart are a simple way to show appreciation and reward effort.
  • Choose tasks that your child is capable of managing – we are aiming to boost confidence not dash it. Setting the table for dinner would be a good example of a useful and helpful task.
  • If you have a family pet encourage your child to be involved in the care – grooming the dog or making sure that the rabbit has fresh water every day are ideal. Knowing that their efforts are making the animal happy and healthy is a great boost to morale.
  • Step back and let your child take a few risks, make choices and solve problems- even if it’s only about what to wear or eat. Giving your child some power will help them to discover the consequences of making a mistake and having to rectify it sometimes.

Encouragement

  • Help your child to work out what kind of skills and qualities they have. Value those skills whilst also teaching your child that being good at football or ballet doesn’t make them better than others. Teach that we all have our own qualities and abilities.
  • Participation in sport is great for your child for many reasons, not only because they are getting exercise and fresh air, but also because they are practising skills, learning rules and team spirit. Don’t just praise goals and wins – a neatly executed pass during a game is also praiseworthy.
  • Learning a musical instrument is a good way to build confidence. We are not talking about virtuoso concerts here just the personal sense of achievement in mastering skills and improving upon them step by step.
  • Reassure your child that it’s OK not to be able to do everything perfectly and that some things take years of practice.
  • Encourage your children but remember that participation rather than perfection is the goal.

Why not be your child’s biggest fan and let him or her feel great about their efforts. If your child fails at something, be there to support them. Resilience is built from learning that sometimes you have to pick yourself up and try again in order to succeed. If you are there to provide the emotional support your child will become ever more resilient and will strive to continue to achieve. Growing up with healthy self-esteem will promote good mental health and personal growth.

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