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During early childhood, one of the most important things parents, teachers and caregivers can do is nurture children’s self-confidence so they learn to gradually become more independent. Studies show that kids who have strong self-esteem are more likely to succeed in school and in life.
Focus on Relationships
Through loving relationships that offer security, comfort and encouragement, kids gain confidence to explore the world around them.
- Spend quality time with your child every day and show affection. This lets him know he is loved and teaches him relationship-building skills.
- Provide opportunities for your child to develop connections with other children close in age. Children learn how to share and resolve conflict by interacting together.
Give Positive Feedback
Acknowledge children’s efforts to learn new skills and face challenges at different periods of development.
- Praise your child for doing a good job during all stages of her early life – when she starts crawling and walking to forming words and counting. This reinforces self-worth and increases a child’s sense of satisfaction.
- Support her efforts to tackle a new activity and learn from mistakes. When facing a challenge, encourage her to try again and offer help only if she needs it. Be patient with the learning process – it pays off in the end!
Provide opportunities for kids to accomplish tasks on their own and nurture their own sense of curiosity. This helps them become more secure in their abilities and in themselves.
- Give your child age-appropriate responsibilities, such as picking up toys or setting the table. When he learns to master or finish a task, his confidence will grow.
- Encourage him to explore a range of creative activities, like painting or telling a story. This will help him become more comfortable in expressing ideas and feelings.
Be a Good Role Model
Children learn by watching adults and imitating their behavior. If you are confident in your abilities, your child will learn to be confident too.
- If you're too harsh on yourself or overly pessimistic, your child may eventually mirror this behavior. Nurture your own self-esteem and your child will have a great role model.
- Show respect to your child by listening to him, looking him in the eyes when having a conversation, and speaking kindly – all behaviors that help reinforce a child’s sense of self-worth.