Boosting Confidence in Young Children
Low self-esteem and a lack of confidence is something that most of us associate with growing up and entering the world of adulthood. However, these issues are just as pertinent for children, and a child with low self-esteem can have real challenges interacting with others, taking pride in themselves and their achievements, and learning to accept their limitations, and celebrate successes. There are a wealth of theories relating to how low self-esteem can initially manifest in young children. Something as simple as a natural shyness can hinder confidence, as it becomes tough for the child to overcome an inclination to hide behind adults or try and stay in the background at school and among their peer group. However, other larger life events such as abuse, divorcing parents or the death of a family member or caregiver can all have a hugely adverse effect on the overall confidence and esteem of the child. The good news is, confidence can be boosted in young children just as it is possible to enhance self esteem in an adult. All children respond to the same positive feedback, making it a simple – if time-consuming – process for adults to gradually coax and praise the child in to feeling better about themselves. No matter what the school environment presents for your child, all kids should have the confidence to approach each new challenge with enthusiasm, safe in the knowledge that they have all the resources they need within themselves to thrive and shine. Recognizing low confidence The first step to boosting confidence is to acknowledge that your child doesn’t seem to have a lot of it! A child with low confidence will demonstrate their insecurities in a number of ways. These could be through a reluctance to play with other children their own age (often preferring to spend time with younger children who are less intimidating), or a shyness which prevents them from speaking up or putting themselves forward at any time. A child who lacks confidence will be hesitant about commencing new challenges, feeling that they may not be able to do a good job, could be laughed at, or simply won’t have the skills necessary to keep up with their peers. Tackling a lack of confidence in young children The following tips will support you to boost confidence in your child, by focusing upon their achievements while encouraging them to take on new challenges:
- Share goals together, picking targets to achieve with your child which are possible to manage. When they are achieved, praise the child and show your pride in them
- Communicate together. Nothing boosts a child’s esteem more than spending time with the adult they are closest to, sharing stories, playing together and doing activities
- Talk to your child. Ask them how they feel about themselves, and get them to change their language to find positive things which make them proud. Instead of finding out what they don’t like about themselves, encourage them to talk at length about things which they do like, and focus on these
- Praise achievements, no matter how small. Meeting small milestones will lead to an appetite for tackling more complex challenges, boosting self-esteem and reassuring your child that they have everything they need to approach things and achieve them
- Have fun. It’s amazing how a child can be encouraged and spurred on to forget insecurities when they are fully absorbed in playing. Use play to disguise new challenges, and your child will approach them without analyzing their own capabilities, meeting new tasks with enthusiasm.