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4 Ways to Build a Child’s Confidence

Kaye Cooper

Act with Confidence-Age 5-8

Self-confidence is a really important characteristic that requires regular encouragement from birth onward. Self-confidence equips your child for a life of accomplishment and satisfaction. As he enters elementary school, your child will make many advances in reasoning. The changes in his brain will prepare him to learn. It can be an exciting time for a child. 

Promote Optimism

If a child has been raised with optimism in the years before school, he will arrive optimistic—expecting that he can eventually succeed at whatever he tries. It is important to help him remain optimistic.

Unfortunately, school causes many children to lose their enthusiasm for learning quickly. When the school system is set up to test children over and over, it quickly becomes obvious that a small number of children are gifted in the ways that are tested in school. Everyone else feels the sting of not measuring up.  Work to maintain the optimism your child developed in the first five years by broadening his understanding of his abilities and the existence and importance of talents that do not show up in tests.

Encourage Interests

Your love, encouragement, and support will be very important in these years. Focus on her strengths. Help her identify her talents and interests. Give her the opportunity to try out her interests. Resist taking control or pushing her to practice. Some children show special talent or interest early in life, but most children need to try out a number of activities before they find long-term interests. 

Howard Gardner’s work on multiple intelligences has broadened understanding of the wide variety of talents with which children are born. Recognize your child’s natural gifts and interests. Here are Gardner’s nine intelligences:

  • Logic and numbers (logical-mathematical intelligence)
  • Expressing what you mean (linguistic intelligence)
  • Remembering in 3D (spacial intelligence)
  • Music (musical intelligence)
  • Body movement (bodily-kinesthetic intelligence)
  • Understanding others (interpersonal intelligence)
  • Understanding yourself (intrapersonal intelligence)
  • Fascination with nature (naturalist intelligence)
  • Tackling deep questions of why (existential intelligence)

Support Accomplishment

Your child’s brain at this age is geared toward learning of all kinds. She will be more confident now (and better able to function as an adult) if she masters some usable craft along the way, such as drawing, carpentry, telling interesting stories, mechanical ability, singing, playing an instrument, computer skills, cooking, caring for animals, sports, gardening, and a multitude of others. Every child has talents. Watch for her interests and make it possible for her to pursue them.

Beware of the temptations to control her interests or to push her. This must be satisfying and interesting to her. Motivation to accomplish for the joy of it is invaluable. It is also fragile, so handle with care. Make it fun to try new activities. Guard against being critical of your child for trying something new and then losing interest. 

Build Resilience

When fear of trying something new shows up, teach her to breathe slowly and deeply. Encourage her to allow her Inner Self to give her courage. Support her emotionally, so she can face her fears and continue.

Exhibit resilience in your own life by occasionally daring to fail. Keep your good humor; demonstrate how to learn from mistakes. Stay determined. Try again. Exhibit resilience and gently encourage her to think that way.

Because you set the example, you can be effective in coaching your child to develop resilience, too. Resilience contributes an excellent foundation for confidence. Resilience says “So what if I fail today. Tomorrow I can succeed.” Building a child’s confidence is one of the most satisfying aspects of parenting.

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