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The Hood Magazine

Learn Keys to Helping Kids Build Self-Confidence

Jan 20, 2022 ● By Sanford Children’s Parenting Services

By: Sanford Children’s Parenting Services 

Self-confidence is how children see themselves in terms of being worthy and able to handle things. 

Self-confidence development begins in infancy and continues throughout adulthood. While you can’t protect your child from getting their feelings hurt or from ever failing, there are things you can do to encourage your child’s self-confidence. 

Show acceptance 

  • Accept your child’s personality and talents. 

  • When your child feels accepted for who they are, it creates a sense of being valued. Feeling valued is needed for self-confidence to develop. 

  • Don’t compare your child’s talents and interests to other children. Encourage your child’s interests by finding something they enjoy and enjoy it with him. If you don’t enjoy math, but your child does, find a math game that you can play together. 

Offer affirmation 

  • Give your child praise for positive behaviors, efforts, and successes. 

  • Positive praise for an action provides your child the reassurance needed to strive to do their best. The self-message of “I can do this” is present even when you are not. 

  • Praise your child for positive actions, no matter how small they may seem to you. However, don’t provide false praise. Your child will notice the insincerity of your praises. If you can’t offer praise, provide positive guidance to turn the negative behavior into a positive behavior. 

  • Give specific praise such as, “You did a great job of having patience and finishing your puzzle.” 

Provide guidance 

  • Give your child positive feedback when your child feels like, “I can’t do this.” 

  • Positive feedback helps your child learn how to use positive self-talk versus feeling self-defeated when encountering a learning challenge or a mistake. 

  • Don’t remind your child of past mistakes or failures. Provide guidance and encouragement on overcoming a challenge or learning from a mistake. 

  • When reading together, acknowledge the words your child gets right and guide your child to sound out the other words. 

Give responsibility 

  • Give your child opportunities to make decisions and complete appropriate tasks for your child’s age and ability. 

  • Having the responsibility to make decisions and being successful builds your child’s self-confidence and decision-making skills. 

  • Give your child opportunities to help make some decisions for themselves and the family. Let your child create the family dinner menu for one night.  

Helping build these self-confidence skills early will help your child handle insecurities that may come in the future. A child with healthy self-confidence believes they are capable, valued, and accepted for who they are.