- 4 mins
Confidence-Building Activities for Kids
While not everyone is born with heaps of confidence, there’s a lot we can do as caregivers to help bolster our children’s self-esteem.
For example: While procrastinating on my phone, I saw a short video that showed how the father of a bullied young boy took it upon himself to send his son to wrestling classes. It helped him gain confidence in himself and revealed a very positive impact on the young wrestler. Now let’s not rush off to sign up our children for martial arts classes because we are all very different. What may work for one child doesn’t necessarily work for another.
Hei Wan Mak and Daisy Fancourt published a study in 2019 that looked at how arts activities improved self-confidence in children. Since a wide range of activities can be conducive to confidence-building, focussing on the strengths of your kids would be a good starting point. After all, who doesn’t love being good at something?
Here are some things I consider when helping my kids choose confidence-building activities:
I accidentally introduced my elder child to a balance bike too soon. He found the experience frustrating and didn’t come around for quite a few months. This summer, I plan to go on long walks because I know my kids enjoy them. I’ll be sure not to engage in exhausting uphill expeditions, though, since they’re only eight and thirteen. As obvious as it may seem, this detail can often escape parents. We need to remind ourselves to consider their ages and keep it simple.
Fun is essential
If I think about myself, my partner, and my children – we would all happily enjoy activities that the others may find tedious. Be sure to consider what your kids want to do and what they’re already good at. Choose an activity that involves that particular interest and enjoy it!
I remember the visible pride the first time I sent my kids to make their first trip to the store. Little did I know, by assigning my kids this responsibility, I showed them I trusted them. To know that you’re trusted is a great thing for your confidence. Chores can be an empowering and helpful way to get your children to build up their assertiveness. Remember to give sincere praise, too!
Break out of the comfort zone
While sticking to what our children know can be fun, easy, and helpful in increasing confidence, the same strengths can be used creatively to break out into more challenging areas. My most laid-back child loves stones and being outside in nature. To encourage him to spend even more time outside, we go on expeditions to look for interesting shaped rocks. We’ve spent several hours exploring now. You can use similar activities to help with their speech and mathematical prowess. Compliments and positive reinforcement are essential to building their confidence in these areas, too.
Failure can be good
Our children will stumble and fall, and that’s okay. How we teach our kids to be comfortable with mistakes is up to us. When our children fail at something, we can show them how to learn from that fall and what’s needed to succeed the next time around. This learning can help them grow and build their confidence once they do eventually succeed. We don’t want to set them up for failure purposely, though. Introducing something new yet related to their interests is a good starting point. If they like drawing, ask them to add or remove color. If they want to build things with Lego, challenge them to build the smallest or biggest thing they can imagine.
Remember: Nobody is perfect and mastery requires time. This includes parenting! You are doing your best and that’s all that matters.
Mak, H. W., & Fancourt, D. (2019). Arts engagement and self-esteem in children: results from a propensity score matching analysis. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1449(1), 36–45.