The word Confidence sure sounds like a very big word for little children. Trust me, it’s not as serious as it sounds.
Building confidence in young children is very essential for their social, emotional and cognitive development. Most parents or caregivers get really worried when their little ones get to a certain age and struggle with interacting with their peers or even answer a few simple questions. These children tend to shy away from being put in the spotlight, no matter how small the audience is.
We actually do have a huge role to play in ensuring children are able to express themselves both in actions and words and not feel intimidated or out of place. As Parents, Caregivers of Educators catering for young children, we must always create opportunities for the children to express themselves, tell their own stories, use their imagination and explore their creativity. It is our responsibility to use certain strategies to help foster confidence in our little ones.
Offer frequent praise and encouragement for their efforts, even for small achievements or even when they don’t succeed at all. Use specific and sincere praise to let them know you appreciate their actions. This actually gives them the courage to keep trying and to put in their very best the next time. Children value praise and encouragement a lot. You really want to keep those words and actions of encouragement flowing.
Secondly, it is important you set realistic goals and expectations. Remember, you are dealing with young children and so you shouldn’t give them tasks that are way to advance for them. Seeing how challenging the tasks or activities are will only make them scared even before trying them out. We want to build confidence in children to try out activities and not shy away from them. Setting achievable goals helps children experience success and boosts their confidence.
In building confidence in our little ones, it is very important to provide choices and Autonomy. Allow children to make choices and decisions within safe boundaries. Give them opportunities to make simple choices, like what outfit to wear, which book to read or what resources they want to explore with. This helps them feel a sense of control and independence. However, please note that this should also be done in moderation so the children don’t start to struggle with taking instructions or other’s opinions.
One of the best strategies to build Confidence in your little one is to model confidence. This can never be overemphasized especially knowing that children always mimic the behaviour of adults. So, demonstrate confidence in your own actions and decisions. Show them that it’s okay to make mistakes and learn from them.
Remember that every child is unique and builds confidence in an ongoing process. Tailor your approach to your child’s personality and needs and be a consistent source of love, encouragement and support as they grow and develop.
“Believe you can and you are half way there”