Three Simple Steps to Teach Children Self-Confidence
By Ryan Maule, author of the children’s book I Am Awesome!
When do you think your children need to understand the importance of confidence?
Most parents tend to identify self-confidence in their kids based on life events like sports, dating, and extracurricular tryouts.
But what if I told you that your child needed a boost in confidence starting as early as daycare or preschool? I know it may sound strange, but as a motivational speaker who specializes in teaching confidence to adults nationwide, I was even surprised at how much it affected my daughter in her early years.
As soon as your children are put into a group setting where questions can be asked that require responses in front of others, your child’s confidence immediately gets tested. You can really see this as early as kindergarten and first grade just by helping your child with their homework.
Their lack of self-confidence is as simple as answering a simple math question with a question mark instead of a period.
Confidence is the difference between answering 1+1=2? And answering 1+1=2! As parents, there are times when we recognize that they know the answer, but until they have the self-confidence to believe in themselves enough to offer up a definitive answer, these small tests of their self-confidence lay the foundation for so many social situations that are headed their way.
Because confidence is so essential to success in public, I want to offer you three simple steps to increasing your child’s self-confidence. Whether they are 4 or 24, these easy tips will not only help you raise up really confident kids, they will help you build a stronger relationship with your child.
Step 1: Express Your Confidence in Them!
There are a lot of parenting moments where it can feel like the best decision is to play for the opposite strategy. This is where you tell them not to do what you want them to with hopes they will ignore or go against your advice to do what you originally wanted in the first place.
This, unfortunately, is the worst thing you can do when it comes to increasing confidence. Children may have opinions, but they lack an understanding of the bigger picture. So, it’s important to remember that they can’t naturally be confident in themselves until they believe that you are confident in them first.
It’s not enough to think that your child knows how much you believe in them and their abilities, you have to actually tell them!
“I know you can do it!”
“You will do awesome at this!”
“I believe in you!”
I remember when my daughter was six and we were doing our bedtime routine and I told her how proud I was of her and her response was, “you are??” I couldn’t believe she doubted my belief in her. This helped me realize that I may have been telling her how much I loved her, but I needed to spend more time telling her how much I believed in her.
Step 2: Praise How They Handle Pressure!
Have you ever thought about the moments at work or life when you were under pressure? Pressure forces us to make decisions in the moment that feel like they are in super slow motion while a bystander might not even notice or recognize the decision-making skills that happened at that moment.
Most pressure decisions look easy and ordinary. This is why it’s so important for you to stop and point out that you noticed these moments with your children and tell them how great of a job they did handling them!
“You scored this on a timed test? That’s amazing!”
“I could have never performed that well under that kind of pressure!”
“You made that look so easy!”
By acknowledging the pressure and how it was handled, you help to build strong confidence that will impact future decisions in times of pressure and help your kids make the right decisions even in the toughest of situations.
Step 3: Continually Praise Them!
I want to let you in on a little secret: there’s no such thing as too much praise! Confidence is believing in yourself and in every situation you face. So, it’s extremely important that you praise your children all the time.
Praising them means being over the top excited about all the things they do. It’s not enough to say good job or way to go. It’s time to boast about your child’s awesomeness!
For example, one of the things we did in our house to help with this was to create an art gallery hallway. This isn’t a gallery of works done by Monet, DaVinci or any other known artist, these frames are reserved for our kids’ incredible works of art! This way we can put them on display and allow them to show off their work when family and friends come over! This encourages everyone to join in on the praise!
“Wow! You painted that! That’s the best painting I’ve ever seen! I could never have done that! Let’s hang it up!”
“Awesome shot! You’re going to go pro with amazing moves like that!”
“You are an absolute rockstar! You will beat everyone in that competition!”
Even if these compliments seem exaggerative to you, trust me, they should be. The bigger the compliment the bigger the belief, the bigger your child will dream, the bigger your child will see opportunities that could come their way!
Praise them all the time and you will see a whole new level of self-confidence that even you will start to admire.
About the Author
RYAN MAULE is the author of the children’s book I Am Awesome! He is also a nationally recognized and highly sought-after motivational speaker, host of the popular Expect Awesome Podcast, and the president of Integrity Doctors, the world’s largest chiropractic business organization. Over the last 15 years, Ryan has traveled the world spreading the message of expecting awesome and building a stronger self-image in order to gain God-powered confidence. Ryan is happily married to his awesome wife Amber and they live in Florida with their two awesome kids, Summer Grace and Nolan Zeal.
I Am Awesome! is available on Amazon.
*Photos courtesy of Ryan Maule