7 Tips for Raising Confident Kids

confidence children
Photo Credit: superman by scottfeldstein, on Flickr

We want our kids to look to the future with more excitement than apprehension; more exhilaration than nervousness.

Here are few everyday tips and tools to help you raise your child’s level of confidence.

1. Be a confident mama. The best way to raise confident children is to be confident yourself. Show your children that you are confident in your own abilities – even if that means you don’t always get what you want. Let them see you struggle toward a goal.

Talk openly with your kids about the obstacles you faced and how you overcame them, or what you will do differently in the future.

It’s okay to let your kids see you fail. Kids need to understand that failure is a part of success.  When they realize you can feel confident in your own abilities no matter what the outcome, they can adopt the same attitude.

2. Make sure your kids have sufficient responsibility. One way to build self-confidence in your children is to begin giving them some important responsibilities, commensurate with their age and ability level. This doesn’t mean you have to give them huge tasks. Kids as young as three can put their clothes in a hamper and pick up their toys. Here are some good suggestions for age-appropriate chores, from about.com.

Give your kids age-appropriate tasks which you can know they can accomplish successfully. Then create routines in which they are asked to do these tasks. As your kids get older, ask them to do jobs that take more responsibility. They will see how your confidence in their abilities has grown; their own confidence in their abilities will grow in kind.

3. As much as possible, allow your kids to make decisions of their own. Very young children can be asked something as simple as which type of cereal they would like to eat. As kids get older, you can give them more important decisions to make. Guide them into making wise choices and you’ll also encourage their self-confidence to grow.

4. Praise your children often but be careful how you do it.
Some parents go overboard by praising everything their child does, and that can give them a false sense of identity. Kids might think they can’t do wrong. But if you praise your children for the effort they put forth, not necessarily for winning or succeeding, they may be less deterred by setbacks.

5. Tell your children – often – that you believe in them and their ability to make good choices for themselves. Choose your words carefully. Tell them “You’re doing better at . . .” or “I appreciate how you . . .”

Apply encouragement liberally. Really slather it on. Put notes in your children’s lunchbox to encourage them. Write them notes on their birthdays – and throughout the year -  with specific examples of good decisions that they made. When you believe in them, they will be more likely to believe in themselves.

6. Take time to listen to what your children have to say. Your kids need to know that what they say matters to you. Help them learn to express their fears, frustrations and emotions. Support them as much as possible, but correct them if they’re wrong.

7. Allow natural consequences. Rather than always trying to spare your children from pain or heartbreak, let them experience what happens when they make mistakes. Teach them to “own up” to their mistakes and to learn from them. Allow them to see you do the same.

More information on raising confident kids:

Parents Do Make a Difference: How to Raise Kids with Solid Character, Strong Minds and Caring Hearts
by Michele Borba

Momscape articles by Dr. Michele Borba:

Simple Secrets that Create Happy Family Memories
Research has found that doing simple rituals enhances our feelings of togetherness and family belonging by almost 20 percent. And those home traditions and customs also increase our kids’ social skills and development. Here are nine simple, no-cost secrets moms are using to create happy memories.

Teaching Kids How to be Appreciative Even if They’re Disappointed
Dr. Borba on teaching kids how to accept gifts graciously.

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