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Rye Smiles for Life
10614 Warwick Avenue, Ste A, Fairfax, VA 22030

Building Self Esteem and Confidence in Children

Self-esteem and confidence are the building blocks of mental stability and success at school, in social relationships, and in future endeavors. Parents are a vital component of how children develop self-esteem. Confidence is a person’s firmly held belief that they are in control of their mind and body and they can successfully cope with the challenges life throws at them. Children with good self-confidence are excited to try new things. They trust that the adults in their lives will take care of them and appreciate them. And they are good at making and keeping friends.

Confidence and self-esteem develop in children in response to their interactions with others. When a baby cries and a caretaker comes to help them, the baby learns that they are loved. A child who is congratulated after learning to play with a new toy also learns that they are a problem-solver. Parents and other caregivers are vitally important to the development of self-esteem, and there are specific actions they can take to ensure that the children in their care develop healthy amounts of confidence and self-esteem.

Provide Routines and Structure

Children thrive in familiar routines and structure. Those who live in chaotic houses without predictable routines are more likely to develop anxiety. However, kids in households with good daily routines are actually better at coping with changes and unexpected events. Kids with structure feel free to try new things and seek new experiences.

Leave Time for Play

Play is the work of childhood. It’s how kids learn to solve problems. Play is also how they develop confidence. A baby who learns how to make their toy play a song learns that when they complete an action, something good happens. Playing is how kids learn to work through emotional upset, like fear of separation or feelings of powerlessness. Imaginative playtime where the child is leading the activities is good for helping children develop confidence.

Give Them Space to Solve Problems

Kids whose parents always leap up to solve their problems aren’t given the space they need to develop their own problem-solving skills and confidence in their own abilities. A child frustrated because their block tower or game isn’t working how they want it to work will benefit more from a parent talking them through the steps of solving a problem than they would from the parent simply solving the problem for them.

Delegate Responsibilities

Everyone needs to feel needed. Having jobs and chores that are appropriate for their age and stage of development helps them build confidence and prepares them for more complicated responsibilities in the future. Parents should set their children up for success by modeling the job for them and talking them through the job the first few times with explicit instructions. No 4-year-old truly understands what “clean your room” means, but they can understand “Put your pajamas in the hamper” and “Let’s put the dolls back in their basket.”

Encourage Them to Keep Trying

Parents who talk their kids through concrete steps and help them understand how to do their tasks in order are setting their children up for success. That said, the child may not be able to accomplish a task yet, and they should know that that’s OK. The important thing is to support and encourage them while they try.

Use Appropriate Language

Parents can help kids work through difficult challenges by using language that shows that you understand what they’re doing and supports them in learning. For instance, you might say, “Good for you: You tried to put on your own shoes! But they are on the wrong feet, so let’s fix that.” Acknowledging the effort and modeling how to make the task work better in the future helps kids build the confidence they need to try again.

Model Healthy Self-Esteem

Children model their behavior on what they see from the adults around them. When a frustrating situation arises, modeling how to deal with the frustration and continue trying to fix it helps kids have a real-world example of how to behave when something goes wrong. It teaches them grit, which leads to more self-esteem.

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    8:00 AM – 4:30 PM
  • Tuesday
    8:00 AM – 4:30 PM
  • Wednesday
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Rye Smiles for Life

10614 Warwick Avenue, Ste A, Fairfax, VA 22030

(703) 565-2503