It takes confidence to be a kid. Whether to start going to a new school, gain new friends in the playground or to speak in front of the class - childhood is the time when kids fight their first battles with confidence and this time puts in the rudiments of self esteem.
Of course, parents, knowing how important it is, want to help children and to instill a can-do attitude, so that children would believe in themselves and would live their life with FULL ON!
We think that confidence and self esteem can be encouraged also during playtime, so we compiled 5 simple tips how to do that:
- By playing together
If you devote time for playing with your kid, it automatically gives your child the message that he/she is worth your time and you value the chance to spend it together.
As mentioned in the previous blog posts, children can learn a lot through play, and that includes learning about themselves and the feeling of importance and accomplishment. Spend time with your kid - it will be a great investment in your child's behavior and personality. We even think it is one of the best investments to raise a confident child that will be ready to face the challenges of life. What may seem like a meaningless activity for adults, may mean a world to your child. Just think about it as the most important job in the world - raising a strong, confident human being. During this time so much is up to you!
- Trust your child and give responsibilities
And this concerns both - playtime and everyday life. Every smallest job or task accomplished will raise your child's confidence - he/she will actually see that “Yes, I really did it! I managed!” and success always inspires to do more (this is true also with adults, isn't it?:)). If your child sees that you trust him to do some task, especially if he/she has seen you doing that as an adult, he will sure appreciate it and...just look how their eyes spark and how carefully they try to do their best! Amazing!
You can start off with something smaller. Like, ask him/her to swipe the table before guests arrive, to bring some dishes or tissues to the table, put together toys for the room to be nice and neat, or to build something nice for the guests to look at (e.g. a Christmas tree, a statue, or similar). This helps them feel more valuable and channels their energy into desirable behavior.
- Encourage children to express their feelings
The ability to express feelings comfortable is extremely important for both - adults and children. And of course, the fundamentals for this are put in during childhood. Of course, expressing feelings doesn't mean exploding at every emotional twinge. It is all about finding a balance between expressing and controlling the feelings. A person should be able to let out the emotions and feelings, but in a relaxed manner. Stuffing the emotions in and being too reserved will eventually lead to the person being shy, introvert and definitely - not confident.
The best way how to begin talking about feelings can also be through play - after creating e.g. a dragon from building blocks, ask your child to describe the dragon - what is his name, how is he feeling, is he angry, is he sad, and etc. Once child sees that it is ok to say that somebody is sad, angry, happy, or etc., he/she will eventually try speaking similarly about himself/herself. Try to catch this moment and to foster the feeling that IT IS O.K. to do that - eventually the child will not think that feelings should be suppressed.
Moreover, try to analyze the way you react in different situations and how you express your feelings, because children observe and reflect such things and you are the one setting the example of how to deal with complicated things like emotions.
- Nurture his/her special interests
Offer your child a wide variety of activities, and when he/she finds something he/she loves doing, encourage and support this activity in all the possible ways you can. No matter if it is building dinosaurs, singing, or cooking :) This is how you show them that they are independent enough to make such important decisions and to keep consistent. If your child has some really quirky hobby that doesn't really fit in with the activities loved by his friends, help find a way how to combine both. For instance, if your child loves drawing and everybody in the classroom is into building blocks, show your kids that he/she can draw on the blocks and others can then use these beautiful, artistic blocks for building something big and colorful. You don't need to isolate your kids just because their friends are into something different. Pursue their interests and do it fully! Once they will follow through to completion, it will again encourage confidence about their abilities and this of course will be beneficial for self esteem as well.
- Praise appropriately
Instead of saying “That’s good” ask your child questions and comment the process. Use phrases such as: “Nice choice”, “Wow, you are really working hard on this!”, “Your ideas are very creative!” that will not only boost your child's confidence, but also creativity. Though, try not to over exaggerate with appraisals, but to do it appropriately and when they actually achieve something. If the kid receives appraisals daily and about every smallest thing, this can result in arrogance, which is not something anybody wants, is it? :) Another situation when it is all about quality and not quantity!
Like what you just read or have some ideas to add? Head to the comments section, share your experience and ideas that might help other parents to open mind to endless possibilities!