How to Build Confidence in Kids 1

How to Build Confidence in Kids

27 October 2022 • Words by Nanette Botha 3 mins

What is confidence?

Confidence is an inner belief in yourself and your abilities; it means knowing that you can use your strengths to deal with whatever comes up and having an “I can” attitude. When you look at a group of people, it might be relatively easy to identify those who are confident and those who lack self-confidence. Confident people typically are in control of their behavior, good decision-makers, and assertive but not arrogant. They are also usually not afraid to ask for help when they need it. They are sure of their intrinsic worth and therefore don’t need the approval of others in order to feel valued. People who lack self-confidence often find it hard to make decisions, may suffer from anxiety and self-doubt, and even have difficulty making friends. They tend to be easily influenced by others and may seek peers’ approval more regularly to help them feel valued.

This is perhaps the most significant difference between a confident and an unconfident person: the ability to feel intrinsically valued without the approval or validation of others. Because this is such an essential skill for a child to learn, it is necessary to build confidence in kids from a young age.

How does confidence benefit kids in the long term?

It takes time to build confidence in kids, but it is a skill that will benefit them for years to come. Confidence not only makes us feel worthwhile and capable but also sends out a message of a self-assured and assertive individual. A confident child is less likely to be bullied or belittled. Later in life, confidence can help them be a good leader, a supportive colleague, and a person who is not afraid to stand up for themselves and others.

The role caregivers play in building kids’ confidence:

There are many different things that caregivers can do at home to help build confidence in their kids. 

Model confidence

Be sure to show your children what confidence (not arrogance) looks and sounds like. For example, use your confidence in doing math to help someone who is struggling with learning a concept. Or, use language such as “I’m really good at tying my shoes. Would you like me to show you what helped me?” CocoLoco’s Confidence Booster, a short Moshi Moment, teaches children in an entertaining yet practical way how to boost their confidence and help others. 

Teach positive self-talk

Children need to learn how to talk to themselves in a positive, encouraging manner. Teach them short positive affirmations, such as “I believe in me” and “I am good at this.” Ping’s Positive Thoughts, a short Moshi Moment, gives kids several positive statements that they can say every day to reinforce confidence. 

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes

We can model acknowledging mistakes to our children, but we can also speak to them about the benefits of making mistakes. Making mistakes is a way of learning, growing, and developing, and it teaches us how to solve problems, try harder, and get up again when we fall. Children often feel disappointed and discouraged when they make mistakes, but caregivers can change their perception of errors by encouraging them to stay positive and try again.

Challenge them and then praise their efforts

When we adults put effort into a challenging task and succeed, it feels good and it builds our confidence. However, if we are not challenged, and victory or success comes easily, the excitement and sense of achievement are not quite the same. It’s the same with our kids— we know our children and when they can (and should) be challenged to do more, go the extra mile, or try harder. Encourage them to challenge themselves instead of settling for the easiest and quickest way. When they challenge themselves, praise them for it—including times when they make mistakes. Keep in mind that it is not always about the product, but the process.

What to do when kids’ confidence gets knocked down:

It is difficult for a parent or caregiver to see their child’s confidence get shaken. We want to jump in and stand up for them, speak for them, and fight for them, and sometimes this may be necessary. However, it is essential for us as caregivers to stay calm so that we can sensibly support our children. Remember that mistakes and disappointments will come, but they can make our kids stronger. Instead of becoming too overwhelmed with emotion when our children’s confidence faces some challenges, we help the most by acknowledging the disappointment and encouraging them to get up again and move on. We can help them reflect on what they learned from the experience and praise them for having a growth mindset.

Nanette Botha

Educational specialist & mother of 3 young children Co-founder: AIMS Global & Leadership at: Augmental