I don’t know about you, but I believe it’s never been more important than it is now to focus on how we can support children with their confidence.
I think we can’t talk about this enough. Confidence is that magical thing which opens doors – it makes life more fun. It makes life easier. But how do we support children to develop it?
Watch the video or scroll down to read more…
First of all, I’d like to clear away a misconception.
We can’t praise our children to confidence.
There’s nothing that we can specifically say to children that will boost their confidence.
In fact, praising children too much can make them nervous because they become needy for it. They’re always on the lookout for approval. And this can make them nervous.
Praising can really backfire.
I’m all in favour of making sure that children feel seen, heard, loved, understood and appreciated. So instead of praise, I invite you to appreciate your children.
Children need to claim confidence for themselves. It’s an inside job and they claim confidence through becoming competent at something.
To give a personal example, I’m really confident driving my car because I’m very competent at it. I’ve been at it a long time. I know how to do it and I feel confident.
But I wouldn’t feel confident piloting a plane because I’ve no idea how to do that. I’m not competent, so I’m not confident.
Children’s confidence is similar. It comes from competence in an area and this can help inform our approach to supporting them.
I’ve identified four ways that we can support our children, offering them the Four Confidence Springboards. These are springboards that children can jump off into confidence.
Springboard #1 – Doing Things
The first springboard is very simple.
When children get to do things, they get an opportunity to become competent in and confident at something.
For us as parents, this means holding back and inviting our children to do things that we might normally think of doing for them.
What might this look like?
If you have a toddler, it might involve putting a step stool in place so that your child can climb up and reach down their own toothbrush.
Or it might mean putting a small jug next to your child’s glass at the table so that they can pour water for themselves.
It would look different if they’re older.
It might be inviting them to walk down the road to post a letter, if appropriate. And when your child gets to do these things, they get that feeling of competence.
Springboard #2 – Experiencing Success
When children get to experience success, achieving what they set out to do, that builds confidence because they experience themselves as competent.
One way of supporting them with this is to chunk the task down into smaller pieces so that our children are more likely to experience success. This is particularly useful if they are reluctant to try something out.
If pouring water were a new thing for your child, you could provide them with very small amounts so that they’re more likely to be able to get it into the glass or cup without spillage, thereby increasing the chance of experiencing success.
“Wow! I did that for myself. I’ve done it. I’ve poured my own water.”
Experiencing success is a great thing for a child and it truly does build confidence.
Springboard #3 – Experiencing Frustration
Life can’t always be about success, as we know.
We understand that, in order to build competence in life, we need to work through some frustrations. It’s natural.
We can’t always navigate a straight and narrow route to success. We have to overcome things.
Children need to learn to go through frustrations and come out the other side. And our role in this as parents is to allow space for frustration – not to be Mr or Mrs Fix it – not rushing in to help all the time.
Not pouncing, not hovering – allowing children the space to work things out for themselves.
One example, perhaps for when you’re doing a craft project, is to see it as an opportunity to explore rather than setting a fixed goal.
Instead of making a model of a cat, for example, you just get out the modelling materials and say, “Let’s explore. Let’s see what happens?“
You can allow your child to explore and they can set their own goals, experiencing their own mini frustrations but none that will be too big to manage.
These frustrations will be more easily overcome than frustrations that might arise if we set a specific goal. The latter could lead to anxiety and bigger frustrations, which are not at all helpful.
Springboard #4 – Follow Their Passion
The fourth springboard is really important because passion is a great motivator for all of us, not just for children. Discovering what your child’s passion is can be so useful because when you know what it is, you can support them in it.
Discovering your child’s passion is about observing where your child outstrips everyone in the family.
- Perhaps it’s in cooking,
- or mechanical things.
If you don’t yet know what your child’s passion is – maybe you haven’t thought of it like that – you can start becoming aware of it.
Notice what they talk about, what they gravitate towards, and provide them with more opportunities in a field that you think might be their passion. This will be supportive to your child.
But of course, the most fundamental way to build confidence in your child is by having a great relationship with them. When your child feels loved – when they feel seen, when they feel heard – this builds confidence.
That’s just one of the reasons why I’m running a free challenge, starting October 12th – the Reset Your Relationship with Your Child in Five Days Challenge.
To sign yourself up, CLICK HERE!
I really hope to see you on board.
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