Do your kids cling to you like Saran Wrap because they’re timid to be around anyone but you?
- Are they too shy to greet people?
- Too nervous to play with other kids?
- Or, do they throw fits at the idea of social interaction?
Anyone raising kids wants their children to grow up to be confident. Building confidence in children is the key to raising self-assured kids who feel LIMITLESS.
But, what’s the solution to help your child become more confident?
The root problem behind a lack of self confidence is often low self esteem. Once you’re able to level-up your child’s self esteem, self confidence is second nature.
Since people often confuse self esteem with self confidence, let’s break down the definition for each:
SELF CONFIDENCE: Self-confidence is all about your kids trusting themselves and their ability to succeed at new challenges and opportunities. Confidence increases with experience and knowledge.
SELF ESTEEM: Self-esteem, is about how your kids feel about themselves and how they value their worth. Self esteem plays a pivotal role in how kids think, feel and act.
Kids that have high self esteem have a positive opinion about themselves and who they are. This leads to them breaking out of their shell, trying new things, and having new experiences which ultimately leads to even greater confidence.
Below are some tips to building self esteem in your kids so they’re confident and embrace challenges head on!
THINK, DO AND SAY
Three key elements to improving kids’ self esteem and therefore building their self confidence are: THINK, DO, and SAY.
THINK – There’s Power In Your Thoughts
All actions, fears, and emotions stem from our thinking. That’s why it’s critically important that what we instill in our kids leads to positive thoughts about themselves.
When kids think they are worthy and loved, those thoughts turn into positive feelings. Then those feelings turn into confident actions.
For instance, I constantly impress upon my little boys to “focus on what you want, not what you don’t want.” This forces them to reframe their thought process when they approach challenges.
Now instead of saying..
“I don’t want to be scared in my new class where I don’t know anyone.”
They’ll instead say…
“I want to be happy and make friends in my new class.”
It’s amazing how this shift in perspective leads to higher self esteem and greater confidence.
Also, we have to remind our kids that they are one-of-a-kind, and it’s actually their differences that make them special.
When kids know in their minds that it’s their differences which make them unique, then they’re less likely to shy away from people who are different, since their self esteem is higher.
And even more importantly, if they know and believe in who they are, they’re less likely to assimilate with people who are bad influences, just to fit in.
Dr Seuss sums this up very well.
DO – Actions Speak Louder Than Words
One of the things that I’ve learned as a father is that I can tell my kids what to do until I’m blue in the face, but actions always speak louder than words.
What our kids see us do – or not do – is key in helping build their self esteem.
Here’s three confidence building activities for kids that you can implement today to boost self esteem.
- Be a good role model.
This seems like an obvious good place to start. But more specifically, remember that there are always little eyes watching you. So, if your goal is to help your child feel comfortable speaking in public, then you should spark conversations with the cashier at check out, or the teller at the bank. Watching you have conversations with new people will start seeming normal instead of scary for your kids. Your kids will begin to emulate the confidence you exhibit.
- It’s ok to make mistakes.
When kids are scared to make mistakes, it holds them back from even trying. Eventually their default reaction to trying new things becomes fear and a lack of confidence. Self esteem isn’t about getting things perfect, it’s about feeling comfortable with who you are. So, make sure your kids know it’s ok to make mistakes and it’s important to try new things. Support them trying something new on a weekly basis – whether it be trying new foods, reading a new book that seemed challenging, or speaking to new friends who they were too shy to greet.
- Set achievable goals to encourage independence.
Confidence is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets. That’s why creating achievable goals that your kids can accomplish on a consistent basis is important in building their self esteem and confidence.For instance, I use math flash cards with my six year old. When we first started with the flash cards he became frustrated when he had incorrect answers. But I told him that I believed in him and I promised him that if he practiced the flash cards on a daily basis it would become easy for him.It didn’t take long before he started feeling really good about himself because he had seen the problems so many times that he knew he could solve them. And even if he got one wrong, he now knew better than to get down about it.
SPEAK – Empowering Words Change Lives
Praise and affirmation are key when it comes to building self esteem. It’s easy when kids are little to shower them with “good job son,” or high fives, as acts of affirmation. If praise and accolades becomes your default reaction when your kids do something good, then it’ll only encourage additional praiseworthy behavior and build their confidence.
As kids get a little older, the words of praise are more effective when they’re relevant and are geared toward a specific action. So, if I see my oldest son sharing with his younger brother (without me urging him to do so), then I make sure I give him praise for being a leader and showing his brother the importance of sharing.
It’s also extremely powerful when kids can speak words of affirmation themselves.
The expression that I have my boys recite to me each morning before school is:
I am confident, I am smart, I am love, I am limitless!
I’ve been saying this to them even before they were able to speak, so now it’s impressed upon them and they say it even unprompted.
Make no mistake about it, if your kids have positive affirmations as the soundtrack in their head, it will have a profound effect on their self esteem and confidence.
Confidence Is the Foundation
Building self esteem in our kids is key to increasing their confidence and the foundation for their success. It’s all about us helping them bring out their special person from within, and making sure they know that they’re blessed and uniquely created to do great things.
As parents and caregivers, it’s an ongoing process to build our kids up – we just have to ensure we’re deliberate about it so they have the confidence to be successful in any situation.
Take the time to nurture what lies within your child, and watch their confidence grow from the inside out.