Confidence is an attribute that comes partly from our personality; partly from our experiences of success and failure and partly from our interactions with others. Our personality is fairly fixed and some people appear more naturally confident than others but this is not necessarily always a positive attribute. A certain amount anxiety and cautiousness in our personality can be useful in keeping safe and being more thorough in our assessments before making decisions. However, it is also useful to be able overcome feelings that undermine our confidence. Experiencing success and overcoming challenges can help here as can having positive interactions with others.
Praise and More Praise!
Giving them lots and lots of regular praise. They should alway receive more praise than criticism - At least 5:1! This is not easy to do! It takes a lot of effort to notice and acknowledge all the positive behaviour that we tend to take for granted. Describe and celebrate their successes - don't just say 'well done', explain why your praising them. This is important so that they can fully recognise the behaviour that gains recognition and positive praise.
Awards and certificates
Use awards and certificates to give them recognition of their achievements and positive behaviour. Physical, visual reminders of successes and achievement are powerful booster of self-esteem. This in turn leads to greater confidence.
Photo book of successes
Create a photo album of 'first step' moments and celebrations of success e.g. riding a bike for the first time or getting a certificate from school
Consider setting up an affirmation wall. This is an area of wall space where positive messages can be posted up. Everyone in the family should be involved both in receiving and writing compliments and acknowledgements.
Acknowledge the value of failure
Children need to experience failure and learn that this is just a very normal part of experience. Use accronym FAIL – First Attempt In Learning to reinforce their understanding that often you need to fail many times in order to be successful. Also as parents we often shield children from situations where they might fail. However, it is important for children to experience a whole range of challenges some of which they may fail at. Building resilience in the face of failure leads to confidence.
Find positive and inspiring quotes to help your child embrace life in a positive and confident way.