We all want our children to have a healthy confidence. We want them to feel happy about who they are and what they stand for. We want them to be able to accept their weaknesses as well as their strengths and be able to see the world as it really is. We also want them to accept what they are capable of and never rate themselves good, bad, useless, etc. We would prefer them to think, ‘I am not brilliant at roller-blading but that’s fine because I am good at other things’. Children can’t be good at everything and should be encouraged to like themselves on the inside and the outside.
It is not an easy job helping them to keep their confidence high given the many pressures that is not enough for a child who needs a substantial boost. A child who possibly has been bullied or does not believe that they ‘can’.
So how can we give them a boost? Well here are 10 ways I think can really help.
- Express positive feelings to your child. Tell them how you feel about them and if they are receptive to a hug give them one.
- Avoid saying negative things to them that may find hurtful. A child will always remember something said that was unkind and they have brilliant memories.
- Show sensitivity to your child’s feelings. If they are unhappy about something empathise with them and don’t laugh at them for how they feel. Their feelings are real to them and should be taken seriously by you.
- Praise your child and tell them how proud they make you feel. Tell them in a way where it sounds genuine. Say it from the heart and really mean it because I am sure they really do make you proud.
- Persuade them to make positive remarks about themselves. It may be tough for them at first but self-talk is a great way to stay in a good mind-state. If you model positive self-talk at home then they will learn from you how to do it and feel comfortable doing it at the same time.
- Encourage them to make decisions for themselves. Making decisions empowers children and shows them that you trust them with making a choice. When a child learns to make decisions also show themselves they are responsible and that makes them feel good.
- Reinforce your child’s good behaviour by rewarding them. Depending on their age and what they are into reward them appropriately. A reward could be that you put them in charge of an activity, does not have could be time spent with just you or time at the library.
- Allow them to find solutions to their problems. When a child can solve their own problems it makes them feel successful. They were the ones who came up with an idea and the problem has now gone away. That is empowering stuff too.
- Stay out of a conflict you know your child can resolve. By interfering you are saying to them, ‘You can’t do this. You need help’ when in fact they probably can sort it out themselves.
- Get them using a ‘WOW’ board. A ‘WOW’ board is a type of book that children can use to document how their day has gone. Filled in at the end of each day they write down what was ‘good’, what was ‘great’ and what was ‘WOW’ about their day. By thinking hard about their day and writing it down they have a record that good things do happen to them and that life is not so bad after all. The board helps children to develop a healthy self-esteem by recognising and taking pride in their abilities and feel positive about who they are. Anything that they liked about their day and made them happy can be written down too.