8 Parenting and Child Development Tips to Build Confidence in Young Children

Looking for parenting and child development tips for raising a confident and happy child?

We all dream of raising confident, high achieving kids and we do what we can to make that happen.

Every child is different. Some will be bursting at the seams with self-confidence while some will need time and nurturing before they come out of their shell.

Self-confidence is an essential trait in your child’s mental and emotional development. Confidence is rooted in a sense of competence.

Children need a positive and realistic perception of their abilities – what they are capable of achieving – to develop self-confidence.

Studies show that confident kids are able to overcome and adapt to changes much more quickly.

Confident children are also more eager to learn so they tend to excel in school.

If you want to raise a confident, resilient and self-assured child, consider adding these parenting and child development tips to your toolkit:

Young kids need plenty of encouragement to thrive

As part of healthy child development, your child will experience a mix of successes and failures. An important parenting role is to help them navigate these wins and losses and to teach them the related lessons along the way.

Whether your child is learning how to tie their shoes or has just aced a test, give praise where praise is due – but don’t overdo it.

Children, particularly young ones, tend to measure their own worth and achievements against the feedback they receive.

Lots of praise and encouragement will help them develop a healthy sense of self-worth and confidence as they interact with their world and receive positive feedback about their actions.

Give praise only when it has been earned, however. If a child gets too used to hearing “good job!” even when the accomplishment is trivial, he or she might think that every little accomplishment is truly worth celebrating.

This can set them up for disappointment when they enter the outside world and find that nobody cares about, much less applauds, minor undertakings like tying shoes or brushing teeth.

Our challenge as parents is to find a balance between over and under-praising our children.

If we say “good job” too often, they may come to expect praise for everything they do, no matter how trivial. If we don’t say “good job” often enough, they may become insecure and lack confidence.

Don’t feel that you have to acknowledge every little thing that your child does.

There is no need to give praises for something that your child is supposed to do, like putting their dirty clothes into the hamper or brushing their teeth before going to bed.

Save praises for new accomplishments and newly learned lessons.

And remember that failure is often one of the steps on the pathway to success.

If your child fails at something, praise their effort and reassure them that it is OK to fail.

Explain that failing at something does not make them a failure. Only by giving up at something can they become a failure.

Let your child know that practice makes perfect.

Positive parenting and healthy child development require that we support and nurture our children as they navigate their way through life.

Praising their accomplishments and providing encouragement after their disappointments are key aspects of our parental role.

Set Realistic Goals

As parents, we think about our kids capabilities and dream about their future.

We want them to be successful and make their mark in the world.

As they grow and develop we steer them towards activities that we believe they will be good at or that we think will be good for them in one way or another.

This guidance is a good thing but we have to be careful about applying too much pressure as part of our parenting.

We shouldn’t force our kids to do something that they aren’t interested in nor expect them to be good at a new activity quickly.

Our job as parents is to hone our children’s skills and provide them with all the tools they need to succeed in life.

That includes setting realistic goals that help them build self-confidence.

The fact is, children have their own natural talents and abilities.

Some kids excel in sports while others do well academically. A child who starts taking ballet classes won’t magically become a prima ballerina overnight.

Instead of setting unrealistic goals that your child cannot meet, guide your child towards reasonable goals that are within their reach.

Healthy child development involves stretching towards new achievements but, as parents, we don’t want to set our kids up for failure with goals they are unlikely to achieve.

If a goal is too big for your child to achieve, break it down into smaller pieces to make the goal reachable.

Teach the Value of Resilience

We all want to step in and take over if our kids fail at something (or if it looks like they’re about to fail).

Remember, however, that failing and learning from failure, are important parts of growing up.

Don’t try to rescue your child every time they face a setback or failure.

Making mistakes, getting hurt, being discouraged or failing – all of these experiences contribute to your child’s development.

Instead of rescuing your child every time he or she fails, use these setbacks as learning experiences to help them do better in the future.

An important part of effective parenting is taking advantage of teachable moments like these when they occur.Talk about the steps they need to take to do better next time.

Encourage your child to try again. This will teach the value of resilience.

As the old saying goes, “smooth seas never made a skilled sailor.”
~Franklin Roosevelt

By instilling resilience, your child will learn to trust his or her feelings.

They will learn that every victory is a product of hard work.

Practice Self-Love

Many adults spend their waking hours wishing they were somehow different – thinner, taller, more curvy, less curvy, more hair, less hair – the list of faults and defects goes on and on.

Instead of accepting and loving themselves, they beat themselves up over their self-perceived shortcomings.

Think about the unconditional love that you feel for your children. Do you love yourself any less? Is your self-love unconditional?

Ideally we, as adults and parents, love ourselves the same way we love our children.

Just as we do in our parenting, we separate the person from the behavior and love the person unconditionally regardless of the behavior.

Practicing self-love is one of the keys to building self-esteem and confidence among human beings whether they are adults or young children.

Since you are the adult and parent, you have to lead by example.

Before you can teach your child to love him or herself, you have to love yourself.

One of the ways you can demonstrate self-love is by complimenting yourself whenever you complete a goal.

Celebrate your personal achievements with your kids.

Show them the power of setting goals and working towards them.

Teach them the value of setting goals and working hard. Explain to them how accomplishing goals makes you feel better about yourself (love yourself more) and increases your confidence for tackling the next goal.

While celebrating with your kids, talk about the skills and the mindset you needed to achieve the goal.

As you demonstrate self-love in this manner your children will learn how to practice self-love as well. They will also learn about setting and achieving goals.

Set Rules, Be Consistent

Children, particularly small ones, are more confident when they know what to expect.

Set rules and be consistent when enforcing them. Unclear or unstated rules and inconsistent enforcement of the rules can confuse a child and hinder healthy child development.

Start teaching your kids what they can and cannot do from an early age. Train your kids to obey the rules you have set.

Every household will have different rules and these rules will change over time as the kids age and mature. An important part of effective parenting is being clear about what’s important in your household.

The objective of setting and enforcing rules is to instill discipline in your children.

Having simple household rules to follow gives kids a sense of security, which leads to greater self-confidence.

Remember, you are a parent first, not a friend. If you are not letting the kids know who’s in charge, they are probably going to run their own show.

Give Your Child a Hand

At times, our kids will struggle to master certain tasks.

When a child gets frustrated, he or she will feel lost and this will only lead to more frustration.

So give your child a hand.

Kids learn by doing so break down difficult tasks into manageable steps and let them take over from there.

For instance, if your child is struggling to tie his shoelaces, unlace your shoelaces and demonstrate how to tie them. Make sure to do this just as your child is tying his shoes so he can follow the steps.

Once the shoelaces are tied successfully, let your child know that he or she did a great job.

By breaking a difficult task into manageable steps, patiently assisting your child whenever needed, and then praising them when they accomplish the task, the difficult task becomes much easier to master.

On the other hand, if your child is unable to accomplish the task at first, just start over again or tackle the same challenge the next day.

Try not to be anxious or disappointed if your child is unable to complete the task the first time around. Give them support and encouragement and they will accomplish the task in due time.

And don’t just do the task for your child either. You want to build confidence by letting your child feel in control.

An important part of good parenting is standing back and allowing the child to do their own thing.

When you step in and takeover, your child loses the opportunity to develop new skills and increase their self-confidence.

Healthy child development involves tackling new tasks and coming up with strategies for accomplishing them. As a parent you have to facilitate this process and then allow it to happen.

Give Responsibilities

Letting your child handle certain responsibilities around the house allows them to feel helpful, which builds confidence.

So go ahead and assign simple tasks to your child. Just make sure the tasks are age-appropriate.

Example tasks are loading the dishwasher, putting the clean dishes away, feeding the pets, or picking up their toys.

While these tasks are simple enough for an adult to understand, kids will need more direction so be clear about what you want.

If you want your child to organize his or her toys, you might say, “please pick up your toys and store them in that bin.”

If you want your child to dry the dishes that you washed, say, “using a clean towel, dry the dishes this way (demonstrate how to dry the dishes) and then put each plate in that rack.”

As the child learns how to complete a certain task, his or her confidence will build and they will be ready to take on more challenging jobs.

If a child forgets to complete a certain task, gently remind them about it. Emphasize the importance of handling their responsibilities without being reminded.

A key aspect of excellent parenting is picking and assigning age-appropriate tasks that help a child build their skill and confidence levels.

Nurture Special Interests

All kids have special interests.

As your child experiences a variety of activities, they will find the ones they really like doing.

From drawing to coloring, playing ball to gardening, let your child experience different kinds of activities just to see what strikes their fancy.

Nurture a child who shows an interest in cooking, for example, by letting them help as you cook their favorite dish or bake a cake. Making cooking or baking a family affair is a terrific way to bond with the kids.

Nurturing your child’s special interest can be an effective way to help them connect with other kids.

If for instance, your child loves to draw while most kids in their school prefer to play ball, encourage your child to draw sports-related illustrations so he can indulge in his passion while also relating to his classmates.

Outside of school, you may find groups or clubs that focus on your child’s special interest. You can also schedule play-dates to connect with other kids with the same special interests.

As part of your parenting style, be sure and expose your kids to many different activities. Help them find and nurture their special interests.

Parenting and Child Development Wrap Up

The role that parents play in their kids lives changes as the child grows up.

Ideally, the development of self-confidence will be a consistent theme throughout the child’s maturation process.

Children build confidence gradually as they take on and accomplish tasks.

As a parent, you have to let your child tackle age-appropriate tasks, assign them responsibilities, and guide them along the way as needed.

Implement these positive parenting tips for healthy child development and you’ll raise happy, confident, and self-assured children:

  • Acknowledge achievements
  • Help set realistic goals
  • Teach resilience
  • Love thyself
  • Set rules and enforce them
  • Give help when appropriate
  • Assign responsibilities
  • Nurture special interests