Confident children reflect good parenting skills and whilst there is no perfect answer as to how children should be raised it’s important that influential people in a child’s life grasp a few of the essentials. We’ve provided a list of 50 confidence building tips. Some may appear contradictory, but it’s all about situation and context as to how appropriate the tip is:
1. Take charge
Very young children, and some older, need to understand limits. This helps them understand and manage their current confusing world. You can show your love to children by setting boundaries so that they explore the world within those limits.
2. Avoid clipping your child’s wings
Parents ought to know that their toddler’s mission is to become independent. So when you see the child is developing (able to keep her/his toys away, clear the utensils from the table), let them.
3. Stop trying to fix everything
Give children a chance to find their solutions. When you acknowledge a child’s minor frustrations without coming in immediately to save them, you teach them self-reliance and resilience.
4. Discipline is not punishment
Creating limits is all about teaching kids how to behave well and journeying with them so that they may become caring, competent and in control. Parents must help children to understand that discipline is not synonymous to punishment.
5. Restrict rule making
Remember it is almost impossible for kids to absorb so many rules without turning off completely. Forget arguments about little stuff like occasional potty language or fashion choices. Try to focus on things that count, for instance, no rude talk, no hitting or lying.
6. Play with your kids
Let them choose an activity if they wish and don’t worry too much about rules when they are very young. Have fun and go with the flow. Let them see you down to earth, and they will learn to be free with you when you need some information from them.
7. Read books with them
Read books with your children. Kids love listening to their parent’s voices. Cuddling up with them is a great experience especially when done on a daily basis.
8. Create daily special time
Parents are nearly always busy. However, scheduling at least 15 minutes or so with your kids with no interruptions is useful.
9. Encourage daddy time
Time with dad is another vast and untapped resource for building confidence in children. It demonstrates to the child that both parents care and are interested in them.
10. Create warm memories
Your children may not recall everything you tell them. However, they will remember family rituals like bedtimes and game night.
11. Be a role model
Children learn a great deal simply by copying adults. Keep this in mind and role model the kinds of behaviour you’d like to see in them.
12. Learn to apologise
Adults are not always right but young children may think they are if when things go wrong their parent never admits fault.
13. Be a little greener
Show kids how easy it is to take care of the environment and show it some respect. Pick up trash one of the afternoons with them.
14. Tell the truth
This is how you want your children to behave right?
15. Kissing and hugging
Kissing and hugging your partner in front of your kids is fine. Your kids will only know how an intimate relationship looks like through your behaviour.
16. Respecting parenting differences
Unless it is way out of the line, respect your partner’s approach towards children. Criticising your partner will only do more harm and bring about confusion.
17. Give directed praise
When you see something worthy of praise, give it and say why it’s being offered.
18. Learn to appreciate
Your kids should know that you feel good when they do well. This behavior boosts their self-confidence and trust in you.
19. Gossip about your children
It is a fact that what we overhear is more potent than what we are told. Let them catch you talking to grandma about them.
Kids love to run about. Get out and about in the fresh air and have some fun.
21. Learn to say No
This isn’t about saying no to your kids, it’s about giving yourself permission to refuse additional obligations at work that cut into family time.
22. Trust your instincts
No one knows your children better than you do. So, trust your instincts and adapt your approach accordingly.
23. Don’t condone disrespect
Do not accept your children using rude or hurtful words. Tell them openly and clearly your views on disrespect.
24. Go for consistency
We can’t shelter our children from outside influences but we may be able to guide family and friends as to what we’re trying to achieve.
25. Encourage conversation
Ask your children open-ended questions and get their views on things. Avoid closed questions like ‘did you enjoy that?’ The most you’ll get is a yes or no.
26. Teach kids this bravery trick
If they seem shy, encourage them to identify an individual’s eye colour. Making eye contact is an important feature of a confident person.
27. Acknowledge kids’ strong emotions
Very young children don’t have the vocabulary or the cognitive development to express themselves fully. Accept that they often express through emotion.
28. Show your children how to be responsible citizens
Look for ways to help others. Volunteering feels good and engaging with a variety of people naturally builds confidence.
29. Show setbacks are normal
We develop resilience by tackling setbacks from different angles rather than avoiding them. Model ways this can be done.
30. Learn to recognise how others tick
When you read books, ask toddlers whether a particular character was too mean, or foolish, etc. Encourage exploration of individual differences.
31. Explain why values are necessary
Keep it simple, but point out why being e.g. generous, kind, humble, assertive are important in certain situations.
32. Set up moments of gratitude
Easily done around the table. Each child appreciates what another did well during the day, however little it may seem.
33. Serve foods – again
Don’t lose hope when the kids snub a particular type of food. Serve it again so that they are used to a variety, and praise when small risks such as tasting are taken.
34. Table manners
Teach kids to take enough food and sit properly during meals.
35. Eat as a family
Taking meals together at the dining table encourages family life, at least one of the meals in a day.
36. Let children place an order
Maybe once a week the kids get to put in their food order.
37. Treat kid uniquely but love them equally.
38. Think of their future
These children are yours but they are also a part of society. Keep an eye on how they will fulfil this role.
39. Savour the time
You’re up to tip number 39. Don’t try to remember them all. You may only connect with a few and that’s fine. Savour the time with your children.
40. Teach your kids how to sign
Kids are really good at picking things up quickly. Learning to sign is just one example of how they can learn to relate to others less fortunate.
41. Keep TV in the family room
TV sets in their rooms cuts kids off from parents. Keep the TV as family entertainment.
42. Provide stimulation
Brain development in children is linked to activities. Make opportunities for creativity.
43. Stay healthy
Vaccinations are there for a reason, use them. Regular trips to the family doctor when needed makes such activities normal.
44. Protect their smile
Encourage kids to brush their teeth at least twice a day.
45. Be careful about kid’s safety
A confident child may understand the difference between reasonable risk taking and being foolish but certain things, such as car set belts, are just common sense for adults to insist upon.
46. Pace the day
Exercise needs to be offset by periods of calm, rest, and proper sleep.
47. Support their interests
Children often explore things only to drop them and start something else. This is natural but if you see something consistent beginning to emerge support and encourage their interest.
48. Put kids in bed while drowsy but still awake
This helps kids soothe themselves and avoids bedtime problems.
49. Don’t do shaming or guilt
We can learn in a number of ways but learning through guilt and shame undermines confidence and should be avoided where possible as it undermines self-esteem.
50. Tell them “I love you”
You can’t spoil a child by telling them they are loved.