Raising a confident child is a great way to help prepare him or her for navigating teenage years to adulthood. A lack of confidence, or a reluctance to try new and challenging things, can hold them back later in life. To help parents cultivate confidence in a child from a young age, we’ve amassed 8 do’s and don’ts from our childcare professionals.
Do Start Teaching Responsibility Early
Oftentimes, parents believe that waiting until their child is older to instill a sense of responsibility is the best way to go about things. However, that’s not the case because starting at a young age helps to foster positive habits for children that will last them a lifetime. It is also a source of pride when they can complete a task. Age-appropriate chore charts are a good way to teach kids how to assist at home. A two-year-old child can learn how to help wipe up messes, pick up toys and books, and even dust with socks on their hands. Starting early, whether it’s teaching them chores, learning how to read, or playing an instrument, has always been considered an asset, not a hindrance.
Don’t Be a Micromanager
Some parents have a tendency of practicing a helicopter parenting philosophy. This means that the caregiver pays extremely close attention to his or her child’s experiences and problems, whether at work or at school. This can sometimes be unhealthy for the boy or girl. Parents should ease up when possible, and try to be less controlling. It’s okay to let children do things on their own, because it allows for teachable moments and builds confidence. Constant intervention undermines a child’s confidence and prevents him or her from learning. Instead, caregivers should promote problem solving skills.
Do Encourage Independence
It can be exasperating to watch your child attempt to tie his or her shoelaces when he or she is first learning. After a few minutes of observing the struggle, a parent may end up doing it themselves. Instead, wait it out. Focus on effort, not results. Over a long duration, consistently trying at a task builds more confidence than the occasional success. Allow children to make mistakes without getting upset at them.
It’s also important to expose your child to an array of activities so that they can find extracurricular hobbies that they take interest in. Kids who feel passionate about an endeavor are likelier to be successful in life.
Research indicates that frequently praising a child for achieving menial tasks can backfire. Keep it appropriate as children can sense when a parent is exaggerating, and begin to ignore their compliments. Children who possess low self-esteem can develop anxiety about maintaining a high level of praise, and begin to choose easier tasks. A real sense of self-worth is based on a child’s skills and their accomplishments rather than telling children that everything they do is terrific.
Do Praise Perseverance
Your son or daughter might try out for the soccer team and not make it. Parents should stress the importance of trying, trying, and trying again if he or she doesn’t succeed the first time. Encourage him or her to think about specific ways to improve their skills, which will then bring them closer to their goals. Kids should also practice healthy risks, such as going outside of their comfort zone to try out for a new play or practice an instrument. Trial and error can motivate children to exert greater effort.
Don’t Be Too Strict
Let him or her make choices early on in life, but don’t relinquish complete decision-making. Having too much control can be overwhelming for a toddler so present two or three options to choose from. For instance, offer your child the chance to choose from a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or chicken fingers for lunch. Allow children to act like an adult when the situation calls for it.
Do Focus on Communication Skills
It’s important that children spend time with a variety of grown-ups. This helps to expand his or her world, and allows for different thoughts and ideas to flourish. Possessing good communication skills means that they can effectively express their own thoughts and ideas, but also that they are good listeners. Additional resources that can help parents support their child’s communication skills can be found on our child care specialist’s tips for better communication blog as well as our healthy long-term relationships post.
Love is Unconditional
Lastly, remind your children that your love is unconditional, even when they fail or make bad decisions. Making your child feel that his or her performance is tied to obtaining your love can be harmful, and impair the relationship.
Enlisting the Support of Caregivers
Teaching your children about confidence will give them the best instruments to succeeding in life. For more information on how our childcare professionals can work alongside parents to instill confidence, contact us via e-mail or at 973-466-2669 for more information today!