Giving your child confidence and an optimistic outlook on life are the greatest gifts you can give, because a confident child learns how to take life in their stride from an early age. A confident child knows how to deal with disappointment in all its glory and understands that even on a bad day that their glass is still half full! Luckily, equipping your child with self-confidence, self-esteem and a positive attitude is not difficult, as success is built on your attitude both towards your child and life's ups and downs too!
Love Your Child
Whilst you know that you love your child – do they? A confident child is a child who knows that their parents' love is unshakeable and that it isn't dependant on how well they perform academically or socially. Take the time to tell them that you love them and give them surprises along the way to show you do – place their favourite toys in a large heart shape on their bedroom carpet, put a little note in their school lunch box or a small, unexpected gift, such as a new pencil. The greatest demonstration of your love is to give them time, quality time when they have your full attention and are not competing with your mobile. Enjoy warm and happy interactions throughout the day and your child will feel cherished and valued.
Praise Them Often
A child who is regularly praised will blossom in confidence and self-assurance - but they must believe in your praise. When they present you with their latest drawing, it is perhaps better to praise them for their neat colouring or the use of a certain colour rather than telling them it is the best drawing in the world! Likewise, when they tidy up their toys or carry a plate of biscuits for you – tasks that you expect of them - it is better to thank them for doing the job well.
Try Not to Be Over Protective
It is natural to want to protect your child from tumbles, an exclusion from a birthday party or trying their hand at something that you consider a little risky, but hard as it is, you must let them learn by taking a step back and then helping them understand that they will not always be invited to parties, or chosen for the team. They will learn how to cope with cuts and bruises and to think about and weigh up risks. Chat things through, and if your child was successful at riding their bike fast around the park, praise them for it, but if it didn't go well, teach them that they will make mistakes and wrong judgements, but there is no need to feel overwhelmed when things go wrong. Importantly praise their efforts - whatever the outcome.
Nurture a sense of independence and adventure in them - but ensure that they know how to keep themselves safe too. If you make a mistake or take a wrong decision, share the experience with your child in a light-hearted way, as this will have a surprisingly positive effect and you will see them blossom in confidence knowing that it is alright to get things wrong and that even Mum and Dad do occasionally! Let them see how you cope with problems, puzzles and rejection in a positive way and teach them to view life positively – even when it's difficult!
Let them figure out things for themselves – even if you think their judgement is wrong, say nothing, as they must learn to fend for themselves. Share as many new experiences as you can together and praise them warmly for their efforts, but don't undermine them if they did not achieve their aims.
Not only is it good for your child's health, it is good for their confidence too! Encourage them to get involved in sport at school and be ready for when their team loses! Brighten things up with the importance of taking part and proudly awarding them with a loser's biscuit! Challenge your child to a game of football in the garden, have fun with some badminton racquets or make an obstacle course to be negotiated – it's a great excuse to have fun and it will challenge your skills of improvisation! Not only does sport increase your child's confidence and awaken their competitive streak, they will thoroughly enjoy your company, the laughter and beating you!
Give Them Choices
In this competitive world we live in, your child will be faced with making choices every day and will need to able to do so confidently. When they are young, children can easily be overwhelmed by choice, so don't ask them what they would like to do in the afternoon, but make things easier and less daunting by asking them if they would prefer a walk or a cycle ride. If they decide that they made the wrong choice, just reassure them that it was nevertheless not a dreadful one and remind them of all the fun moments you shared. Let them be curious too and always answer their questions, as their increased knowledge will boost their confidence too. If they are particularly interested in a subject, gently encourage them to pursue it – but with you as an enthusiastic bystander, rather than providing all the answers.
Confident Child = Confident Adult
A child lacking in confidence and self-esteem will find it hard to try something new and perhaps a little different, as they will fear disappointment and failure. By ensuring you have a confident child, you can be assured that one day they will be a confident adult, able to enjoy a successful career and a happy well-balanced life – isn't that a wonderful gift to give?