The Confident Child
Author: Jeannie Fleming-Gifford
From the moment you hold your newborn in your arms, chances are, you want to give him/her the world. We all want the best for our children, for them to go out and live their dreams.
How does this happen?
What skills will they need?
Confidence is one core trait they will need to pursue their future endeavors.
Confidence. Are children born with confidence or is it a skill that can be developed? Most early childhood experts say it’s a little of both. Certainly, children are born with personality traits, but many behaviors – including confidence – can also be developed.
How can you build confidence in your child?
- Think and plan appropriately. Remember, young children comprehend and perceive the world much differently than we do as adults. Loud sounds, scary images, significant breaks from routine, etc. may affect a child’s confidence.
It’s true; you certainly can’t avoid all of these things. At one point or another, your child will encounter experiences that will challenge them. As a parent, think, plan, and respond to these events, especially things that seem to frighten your child. Be especially mindful of what is on the television and what is happening in the environments around your child. Change directions when you can to avoid content that may not yet be appropriate for them.
- Be your child’s biggest cheerleader. When you became a parent, you obtained many new job responsibilities. One of the jobs you took on is to be your child’s #1 advocate and supporter. From their earliest milestones (first smiles, ability to sit independently, to the day they begin to crawl), cheer them on. Positive interactions and experiences are key to building self-esteem and confidence.
- Give them opportunity to grow. Although we want to protect our children and keep them safe from any harm, it is our job to provide them with new opportunities and experiences. Each day brings new discoveries. These may include first shots, the first time going through a car wash, to the first time seeing and hearing waves at the beach.
You may see your child react to a new experience by covering their ears or even crying. Respect your child’s feelings, empathize, but also cheer them on through these situations. Use kind and supportive words such as “It is okay. I know this is new. You can do it.” As your child recovers, shower them with praise. “You did it!” Celebrate their accomplishments, no matter how small.
Building confidence in your child takes time and patience…think of it as taking one baby step at a time.