Earlier this year I published a post about how to build confidence in tweens and teens, but the truth is that self-confidence in kids starts much younger than the tween years. Self-confidence begins from the moment your baby is born and the foundations are laid for healthy self-esteem every time you respond to your baby’s needs by giving lots of cuddles and smiles.
However, a particularly challenging season – for parents and kids – are the toddler years. During this time it is vital for parents to continue to build self-confidence in your kid by solidifying the message that they are loved and accepted unconditionally and that they have value.
When it comes to the toddler years, boosting your child’s confidence is crucial for their linguistic, cognitive, social, emotional and motor development. Here are a few more tips for how to build confidence in toddlers.
Tips for boosting confidence in toddlers
Follow a routine
Toddlers love routine because this allows them to know what to expect next. When they know what to expect, the world is a less scary place and they become confident about their surroundings. Some routines you could put place include making sure that their meal times and bed times happen at the same time each day. Having an evening routine that follows the same order every night is also a good idea.
Help them get it right
Whether your little one is struggling to place a puzzle piece or to balance their building blocks, it’s important that you are there to show them how to do it correctly. When a toddler needs you, rather encourage them on to solve the problem on their own instead of doing it for them. This way they can become confident in their own abilities to solve future problems.
Playing is how children learn, so allow plenty of play throughout the day. Often their desire to learn new things can come across as naughtiness, but try to channel their curiosity rather than stop it. Remember to offer lots of praise for good social behaviour – such as learning to share.
Toddlers are beginning to develop their self-identity and an understanding of what they can do and what makes them who they are. They are beginning to realise that they have the power to make things happen. Allow your toddler to make reasonable decisions (e.g. what to have on their sandwich) which can give them a sense of control. Also allow your toddler to say ‘no’ occasionally!
Affirm with words
Words contain power, especially when it comes to your child. Build up your child’s confidence by affirming them often. Let your child know that you see her as clever, special and valued. Tell your child you love them and use words of encouragement and celebration to let your child know that you are proud of them.
Discipline with love
Kids can get into all sorts of trouble, but it’s important to bear in mind that there is a difference between childish irresponsibility and blatant defiance. Don’t shy away from discipline when it is called for. Investigate suitable discipline techniques that are age appropriate. Avoid breaking down their character with belittling words. When it is done with love it can be the best thing you do for your child.