As children grow they develop confidence and self-esteem from their interactions with others. Each year, they will also develop more of a sense of self, primarily through their experiences and relationships with others.
Confidence and self-esteem are closely linked, and developing self-confidence is fundamental in preparing children for life. Positive self-esteem means we feel good about ourselves, who we are and where we fit into our community. This leads to feelings of self-belief and overall confidence. Children who are confident learn new skills more easily, meet challenges head on, and trust themselves to overcome any obstacles they face.
As parents, we want to help our children develop their confidence. There are a number of things you can do to help your children grow into confident young people, and in this article we look at some simple strategies you can use to build your child’s self-esteem.
Positive relationships with others
Your child’s relationship with you and other important people in their life forms the foundation of their self-confidence. Knowing that they are loved by their family and the people around them helps children understand where they fit into the world. Spend quality time together, and tell your child often that you love them for who they are.
Connections to people outside family, including friends, and even early childhood educators is also helpful in developing confidence. These relationships allow children to explore other aspects of themselves and build their independence, resilience and confidence.
Learning confidence through play
Learning through play helps children develop many life skills, including confidence. Give your child plenty of opportunities to learn through play, whether that be at home or at child care or kindergarten where they can benefit from playing with other children.
At Catholic Early EdCare, our educators look for opportunities to challenge children through play in a positive way, teaching them that it’s ok to try new things, even when you don’t succeed the first time. For example, climbing a tree might seem daunting, but our educators help children to try it safely, so they learn how to climb up and then get down on their own. This helps foster confidence and reinforces that sometimes it can take a few attempts to achieve something.
Build confidence through competence
Part of feeling confident is about being competent. Children thrive when they can learn and master new skills regularly. Encourage your child to be involved in family activities and give them chores to do around the house, like helping with meal preparation, setting the table and helping to clean up afterwards. Feeling confident and competent at every day activities, as well as learning responsibility, will set them up for larger challenges like going to child care or school.
In our Catholic Early EdCare centres, children are encouraged to be independent and learn to do things for themselves, from dressing themselves to tying shoes laces, serving their food and cleaning up after themselves. When children to do these things for themselves, they develop skills and confidence.
Celebrate achievements and learn from challenges
It can be tempting to give children lots of praise to help them feel good about themselves, but it’s important to save your praise for things that are meaningful for children.
It’s important to recognise achievements, but also effort and determination, regardless of the outcome. Learning that you don’t always succeed the first time you try something is important, and it’s part of building resilience and ultimately, self-esteem. Praise your child’s effort, and encourage them to keep trying.
Helping to build your child’s confidence and self-esteem is all about creating a positive environment for them to learn and grow. As well as learning these valuable skills at home, when children attend long day care and kindergarten they develop confidence through their relationships with others, learn through play and develop many new skills.
Our educators develop individual learning plans for each child, to help your child grow confidently, every day. To find out more about Catholic Early EdCare, visit our website.