Many parents wonder how to build confidence in kids, whether their children have faced bullying and confidence issues in the past or not. But what’s the best way to do it?
Life can be hard and full of struggle and disappointment. How can parents give kids the tools they need to face today’s world?
(Psst! Au Pairs can be a huge support).
7 Strategies to Build Confidence in Kids
Here are 7 strategies to teach your kids confidence, and the rewards that can come out of facing adversity.
1. Be real
The first secret to build confidence in kids is real talk, real life, no lies. Confident kids have parents who talk to them about their world. False praise has no place in building confident kids.
To build confidence in children, even young children, expand their world by including them in what you are doing. Talk to them using age appropriate terms, not baby talk.
Au Pairs can help build confidence in kids by modeling and teaching appropriate language. Even more, Au Pairs can expand children’s world in many ways beyond just language learning.
Everyday tasks like preparing meals and playtime provide opportunities to build confidence in kids. Let your child open his or her own containers. Imagine your confident child on the first day of kindergarten, opening snack while others wait for help from the teacher.
2. Encourage personal interests
Kids become confident when they become competent. Help your child build confidence by encouraging their interests, which sadly, may not be yours.
Using their imagination builds up kids’ confidence, too. Au Pairs can encourage kids’ imagination and confidence by helping them see the possibilities the world offers. Having a sense of adventure can build confidence in kids like nothing else.
Your Au Pair is one example of confidence in action. By their very participation in the Au Pair Program, he or she has ventured out into the world as a role model of how to build confidence in your kids. Kids can learn confidence from their Au Pair.
3. Give choices when possible, and it’s not always possible
Exercising some level of freedom is a great way to build confidence and independence in kids. Who doesn’t like to make their own decision? However, it is not always possible to give options, like when school starts.
It is possible to let your kids build their own confidence by making choices for themselves (and dealing with consequences). At back-to-school shopping, allow your child to choose items, within reason. They will feel more confident using the supplies they picked out instead of someone else.
Very young children can build confidence just picking out their clothes for the day. Your Au Pair can help by encouraging the child to look outside before deciding on shorts or long pants. Set them out but let the child do it as much as possible.
Older kids can choose breakfast and snack items or choose what to do with their free time. Au Pairs can help build confidence in older kids by sharing their own choices, reasons, and results. Your Au Pair may even share a time he or she had no choices because sometimes, that is life.
4. Get them involved
Sports are a great way to build confidence in kids. It builds resilience as well. Sports are a great confidence-builder if kids are skilled or really like their sport.
What happens if your child isn’t sporty? Other activities, like anything they are good at or enjoy, will help build confidence as well as independence.
Au Pairs can help build confidence in kids by engaging children in any number of activities when you cannot be there. Au Pairs might introduce your child to some new and different hobby, event, or game.
If your child doesn’t want to do an activity or sport, push a little, but don’t push too hard. He or she will find confidence in their own way. Forcing kids into activities takes away confidence and self-esteem by taking away control. Of course, some things are required, like family or religious obligations.
5. Allow struggle and even failure
Success is an important factor in building confidence, naturally. But so is lack of success. Considering how to build confidence in kids, they must learn struggle and failure. Point to the lives of Walt Disney and Milton Hershey, among other great failures. Plus, people learn by making mistakes. There’s no point in doing something perfectly the first time if you don’t remember how to do it later on.
That is not to say we should always let kids struggle and fail or expect greatness. If parents want to build confidence and self-esteem in their kids, we need to let them do it. They have to earn it, to complete the task, even if it takes several attempts.
Don’t allow negative self-talk, though. Teach kids to believe they can do better, they can learn something if they try hard enough. Teach positive self-talk to build confidence and self-esteem.
When something doesn’t go as expected, talk to your child about it. Allow them to express frustration and anger. Then encourage a positive attitude and another effort.
Parents and Au Pairs probably have several stories to share about a time they struggled or failed. Kids who hear about the resilience of people they know will be more confident to face their own failures.
6. Don’t over-react
We have all seen the parent who jumps and ooohs when their toddler trips and falls, only to have the child respond in kind with tears and screams. Building confidence in kids is similar.
As parents and caregivers, we have to show confidence that our children will be okay. Our job is to instill confidence, strength, and resilience through adversity. That’s what makes a confident young person.
Experienced Au Pairs and parents know to wait, to give children a chance to wobble, even fall, and then get up on their own. Calm words of encouragement build confidence better than swooping in for the rescue.
7. Build on their capabilities
Build confidence in your kids by giving encouragement when they actually do something well. All kids are good at something. Find that thing and build from there. No, like celebrate!
Au Pairs are great help here. Your Au Pair can spend hours talking with your child and learning their strengths. Au Pairs are a fresh set of eyes and ears who can help kids really discover their awesomeness. Parents are busy and sometimes miss looking for strengths in between work, bills and life.
Kids just want to be loved. Confident kids know they are loved, no matter what. Parents and Au Pairs can build confidence in kids by giving unconditional love.
Teach your kids to love themselves and you will teach them confidence. For example, when it doesn’t go as planned, remind kids they are loved. They are safe and can try again.
Outside forces sometimes impede kids’ confidence. If your child is experiencing bullying or other personal stressors, it is best to seek the advice of your family pediatrician. If he or she doesn’t answer your questions, find another pediatrician. You can even ask the school guidance counselor for recommendations.
What’s the Reward?
Though it may seem self-explanatory, the reward of facing adversity is a confident, happy, capable young person! The reward of building kids’ confidence, self-esteem, and independence is a life of happiness even through difficult experiences. It is the ability to overcome adversity and thrive in an ever-changing world and society.
Parents and Au Pairs can build confidence in kids, which builds their self-esteem and ability to cope. Kids with positive self-esteem can overcome life’s hard times. Confident kids are engaging, independent, adventurous, and loved, thanks to loving parents and caregivers.
Hosting an Au Pair provides Host Parents the double reward of a lifelong family member PLUS confident kids. Go Au Pair is happy to support our families, children, and Au Pairs who confidently share their homes and cultures in such a positive spirit!