Are you concerned about your child’s self-confidence? According to statistics, roughly 70% of teenage girls believe they aren’t good enough or don’t measure up in some area.
The numbers for boys are usually lower, but boys of all ages can suffer from low self-confidence.
Self-confidence issues are very common, and they can also have a strong negative impact on children’s mental health, academic performance, and even physical health.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to help build confidence in children.
Keep reading for some confidence-building activities for both in and out of the classroom.
Play a Compliment Game
It sounds simple, but one of the best ways to boost confidence levels, in both children and adults, is through genuine compliments.
Research shows most people feel embarrassed to compliment others, and worry that it will come off as phony or awkward. But, research also reveals that compliments can be hugely powerful in uplifting others.
Children, especially, often aren’t even aware of their good qualities. A heartfelt compliment can mean a lot to a child, especially if they are struggling with self-confidence issues.
If you want to tap into the transformative power of compliments, there are a few fun activities you can try that get the whole family or class involved.
One is “catch and compliment.” For this activity, all you’ll need is a ball.
Form a circle and start by picking a person you want to compliment and throw the ball to them. As soon as they catch the ball, tell them your compliment.
The recipient then chooses the next person to throw the ball to and then pays them a compliment. This is a very simple activity, but you might be surprised at how appreciated and seen everyone feels afterward.
To keep the compliments flowing, you can also set up a compliment jar. Whenever a family member (or a class member) thinks of a compliment they want to give someone, they can write it on a slip of paper and place it into the jar.
You can then either choose to take compliments at random or do an “un-jarring” when everyone is together.
Do Creative Projects
Creative projects are another set of confidence-building activities that can be very helpful for children.
If your child is struggling with self-confidence try to place emphasis on the fun of the project, rather than the end result.
For instance, you can play a game where you present each other with a tray of random items. The object of the game is to assemble something out of them.
The result can be anything, and it doesn’t have to tick any boxes or be perfect in any way. The aim is simply to get creative and have fun.
You can also pick more structured projects that are easy to do and guaranteed to come out great. Looking for ideas? Here are 10 easy DIY projects for kids that turn out amazing.
Doing projects like paint pouring and tie-dye, that don’t require high precision, can help kids let go of the idea that everything they do has to be “perfect”. Sometimes imperfections in these types of creative projects yield the best results.
Read Stories About Characters Who Made Mistakes
If you’re wondering how to build confidence in your child, one of the easiest activities you can do is exposing them to stories about characters who have made mistakes and grown from them.
Making mistakes is a natural and valuable part of life, and these types of stories can help children realize that mistakes don’t define them. Normalizing mistakes and showing they can be a recipe for good is invaluable in early childhood development.
Children invariably identify and look up to characters in stories. If these characters make mistakes and learn from them, this demonstrates to children that they don’t need to be scared of making mistakes and can tackle new challenges with confidence.
Assign Chores and Responsibilities
Assigning chores and responsibilities can also be a powerful factor for building confidence in children. Carrying out a chore or responsibility can boost self-esteem, and teach children new skills. It can also foster a healthy sense of pride and make them feel valued and appreciated.
This is why chores and empowering routines are a core part of Montessori education.
Start by giving your child small tasks and responsibilities, such as watering houseplants, feeding a family pet, or doing chores like taking out the trash. If they successfully complete the task, recognize this and show your appreciation.
This will motivate them to be consistent with their new responsibilities. If they continue meeting these small responsibilities, compliment them on their consistency and dedication.
Also, try to make praise and compliments specific. Instead of saying “great job on taking out the trash” consider saying something “I’ve noticed how consistent you are with remembering to take out the trash. Thank you so much. It really helps me that you have been doing this chore.”
Gratitude journaling has become a popular technique for adults, but it can also hold significant benefits for children.
Gratitude journaling has been shown to increase happiness levels, reduce chances of burnout, and even lessen inflammation.
Besides these benefits, gratitude journaling can also be a powerful way to train the brain to focus less on self and look outward into the world. Instead of worrying about what others think, gratitude journaling can help you get in the habit of recognizing all the positive aspects, both of yourself and the world around you.
If your child is of writing age, you can start by doing gratitude journaling together. If you like, you can share the things you are grateful for with each other.
If your child isn’t old enough to write, you can work with them and help them to record the things they are grateful for. For instance, you could write out the words, and they can draw a picture to represent them.
If you’re looking for confidence-building activities to do with your child, then you definitely should try a self-talk exercise. The aim is to identify patterns of negative self-talk, notice how they feel, and transform them into something positive.
The easiest way to do this is by drawing two columns, one for negative self-talk, and one for more positive options.
Work with your child to uncover some of the things they say to themselves that might be negative. If you’re not sure where to begin, start by asking your child if they ever say “mean” things to themselves.
Write what they say (or have them write it) in the lefthand column. Then take some time to rework the statement into something more positive.
For instance, if the statement is something like “I’m not smart,” you can change it to something like “I’m not the smartest person in the world, but I am always learning.”
You can also begin with an example of negative self-talk you sometimes employ and transform it into something positive. For instance, maybe you often beat yourself up for being slow with tasks. You could transform a negative statement to self like “I’m slow and inefficient” to “I enjoy taking time over things.”
If you do the self-talk exercise with your child, they will realize they’re not alone, and that you also have these types of thoughts.
Another way you can help your child overcome negative self-talk and self-doubt is by using the word yet. Every time they voice a negative statement about themselves, such as “I can’t do this” or “I’m not good at this”, all you have to do is add the word “yet”.
Saying “I can’t do this, yet” is a much more empowering, confidence-building statement.
Tips for Building Confidence
Besides the above confidence-building activities, here are some general tips you can also implement for building confidence in a child.
First off, make sure that you praise and compliment your child the right way. Praises and compliments are very important, but they can be detrimental if you overdo them, aren’t honest, or place too much emphasis on outcomes.
For instance, if you tell your child they played a fantastic game of soccer when it was one of their worst matches—this will probably make them feel even worse. It will also set an example that lying is okay.
Instead, focus on progress or attitude rather than the outcome. In this example, you could say something like “That was a tough game, but I really admired how you stuck it out and didn’t give up.”
Even if your child is successful at something, you can still place the focus on progress rather than perfection.
For instance, if your child scores well on a test, instead of just saying “Good job on getting 90%.” place the focus on how they got there.
Saying something like “You must be so happy about your test results, you really deserve it after working so hard and putting so much effort in.”
Finally, you might also want to look into enrolling your child in a curriculum such as Montessori that fosters self-confidence. According to study results, Montessori students demonstrate higher levels of self-confidence into adulthood, even if they only spent 2 years in a Montessori class.
Try These Confidence-Building Activities
Not only are these confidence-building activities effective, but they are also a lot of fun, and can be used both in and out of the classroom.
Carve out some time to test these activities and take a proactive approach to build confidence in your child.
Lastly, are you considering enrolling your child in a Montessori school? Montessori School of Downtown has six campuses distributed over Pearland and Houston.
Contact us today to learn more or schedule a tour.