If you can pinpoint the most perfect time to start building confidence in your child, it’s right now when they are still young. It does not matter whether they are not yet speaking or not yet walking — babies and toddlers can be very perceptive. They might not really understand what you’re saying, but they surely understand how you are making them feel.
How you make your baby feel right now is already doing wonders for their self-esteem. They are beginning to learn that they are loved and valued. At the same time, they are realizing that they can trust you. These feelings are essential building blocks for a healthy mental well-being and a sense of self-worth.
If you need more help in navigating this area of your baby’s development, here are 9 things you can do to raise a confident child.
1. Be responsive.
Unlike what some parenting advice books say, being responsive to your baby’s cues will not spoil them nor make them overdependent. On the contrary, when you are responsive to your child’s needs, you are teaching them that their needs — physical and emotional — are top priority. Your baby then learns that because someone takes care of them and responds to them, they are important.
2. Spend time playing with your baby.
Playtime is more than just entertainment. For your growing child, playtime is vital in building confidence and healthy self-esteem. You see, when you spend time playing with your baby, it makes them feel valuable and worthy of your time and attention. This is aside from the multiple benefits you get from playtime!
3. Set rules and limitations.
Rules and limitations may sound restrictive, but they are a very crucial part of building confidence because they help your child be confident in making decisions. When enforced consistently and positively, these rules help them understand what they can and can’t do, which forms part of their self-identity and sense of responsibility as well as security.
4. Praise your child often.
While rules and limitations lay the groundwork for positive discipline, create a perfect balance by being generous with praises. Praising your child for their achievements helps them become more confident in their skills and abilities. At the same time, praising your child for their efforts (when they fail at something) instills the values of perseverance and hard work.
5. Include physical activity in their daily routine.
One of the more subtle ways on how to raise a confident child has a lot to do with physical activity. Doing sports, in particular, is a very effective way to help your child learn teamwork, sportsmanship, and friendship. Being involved in sports will also inculcate self-discipline and healthy habits. For younger children and babies, playtime also results in the same benefits!
6. Hone your child’s talents.
The early years of your child’s growth and development is an excellent time to keenly observe what they excel at. Some talents are visible, like singing and dancing, while some take time to show, like being a natural at sciences and maths. Whatever your child’s abilities may be, it is your job as parent to hone these talents. Support these interests, give generous praises, and encourage them to work hard.
7. Encourage them to solve their problems.
When your little one encounters a problem, it can be very tempting to step in and solve their problems ourselves. But this can do more harm than good, robbing them of the chance to develop self-confidence by learning how to figure out things on their own. Letting them solve their problems also instills the values of independence, diligence, and persistence.
8. Expose your child to new experiences.
When your child is still a baby or a toddler, perhaps one of the most common causes why they might throw a temper tantrum is a sudden change in their environment or routine. Ease your child out of this fear by gently exposing them to new experiences both inside and outside your home. This builds confidence by giving your child a chance to learn how to adapt to changes and cope with new circumstances.
9. Be a positive role model.
Children don’t follow what you say; they follow what you do. With this adage in mind, the most important thing you can do to raise a confident child is simply by being a confident parent. Be wary of the words you say when talking about yourself or your partner and avoid making derogatory remarks. Be gentle on yourself when you fail at something and praise yourself when you do well, even in little things.
You are your child’s greatest influence and possibly the most important figure in their young lives. Raising your child to be a confident person should not be rocket science. All it takes, at the most basic level, is loving your child and loving yourself.