Raising children, especially pre-teens or teenagers? Most parents find the challenges as many as the rewards. Finding ways to boost kids’ confidence, especially at key points of physical and social development, is great way for parents to be their best. Confidence can help kids succeed at school and in their social lives. It can also help them avoid the pitfalls of low self-esteem, which can cause problems later in life. The psychology of parenting is complex and the methods to boost confidence are many. The good news is that there are easy actions you can make to help your child feel good about themselves. These five tips take a little effort but are simple to implement and can reap benefits that will last into adulthood.
1) Support Activity
A play per day. When your child gets home from school, have them do some physical activity—go for a walk or play outside. Make fitness part of their day and it will become second nature over time. Talk about your own fitness activity to lead by example – but careful not to boast and make sure they can relate. Plan an activity together on a regular basis, such as the weekend ahead. Provide them with activewear to feel more confident when they’re moving. Habit, dialogue and support are the key. Simple plans with modest time - but making it part of life.
2) Let Them Play Alone
Team sports are great for learning to play a role and winning or losing together. Did you know, kids who also spend time playing alone often develop higher levels of confidence? This is especially the case when that play involves honing a skill, besting themselves or solving a problem. According to one study, kids who enjoy playing on their own tend to have more self-confidence, are less shy, and are better able to express themselves. If you want your kid’s confidence level to soar, allow them time each day for independent playtime.
3) Give Them Their Space
Raising a kid who is confident and social starts with talking about their feelings with them. It can be as simple as asking, “How do you feel about that?”. Explaining your feelings and actions when things don’t go so well can also help this dialogue, as long as you don’t dominate the conversation. This engagement shows your child that you value their thoughts and opinions, which helps build self-esteem. Plus, doing so encourages them to communicate with others in meaningful ways. It helps them know what they want because they’ve had the chance to express themselves based on feelings, in a positive connection with you.
4) Talk It Out
Sometimes kids’ feelings and emotions can get so overwhelming that they have tantrums. As they grow up, these may become rants, storming off or withdrawing. This is not only stressful for parents, but also extremely difficult for kids who don’t know how to deal with their emotions. Encourage your children by talking about their feelings frequently. Let them know that whatever is bothering them can be worked through, even if you do not understand what it is. Finding solutions can play a role but generally the communication itself, the empathy and the support are most effective.
5) Let Them Make Choices
Growing up in large part is understanding and learning to deal with embarrassment. When it comes to developing their own style for example, it is important for kids to venture personal choices and feel good about these choices. With clothes for example, how often does a young teen say, “How do I look in this?”. The answer is not often because in this case, they are not looking for your positive affirmation, although any criticism could be harmful. Inevitably with pre-teens and younger teens, you will be with them when they are making choices. Or you will consult with them, before being the one to purchase for them. Spend time with your children here — let them pick what they want so they can look and feel their best in their own eyes first. Browsing online in the comfort of home can be a convenient way. If your kid needs activewear for example, they may respond better seeing it at a website or social media. That way, they can browse on a device that they are comfortable and interact with you about a choice when ready. It can also help them be aware about price in a more discrete way. For some kids, this takes the anxiety out of those sometimes-public conversations with parents in department stores.