We all want our children to grow up happy, healthy and confident, but self-esteem is something many kids struggle with. Nerves, worry and anxiety can hold children back from achieving their goals and becoming the person they want to be.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to build your child’s confidence, no matter how old they are – although it’s best to begin confidence-building activities at a young age. Here are some of the best activities for increasing your kid’s self-esteem.
Create a collage
For kids to have confidence, they need to be completely comfortable with who they are and have a strong identity. Creative activities can help children come out of their shells, so get them to make a collage that’s all about them. All you need is a big piece of card, a pen, glue, scissors and some of their favourite magazines.
Ask them to start by sticking a photo of themselves in the middle of the page and writing their name below or above it. Then encourage them to stick images around that photo, depicting things like their favourite colour, sports team, clothes, films, video games, what they want to be when they grow up, etc. Don’t control what they stick down though – leave them to it and come back when they’re finished.
Afterwards, you can get them to explain their handiwork. Put it up on their bedroom wall so that they can be reminded of their identity every time they see it. It will make them feel proud of their interests and the goals they want to achieve.
Act on stage
Getting up on stage and performing in front of others is a daunting prospect for many – even some adults are afraid of public speaking and being the centre of attention. Attending drama classes or a stage school at an early age can have a huge impact on a child’s confidence. They’ll learn that feeling nervous is a natural emotion, as some of their classmates will be just as scared as them. After all, even the most experienced actors say they still get butterflies in their stomach just before they go on stage.
At a stage school, teachers will encourage every child to take part. To start with, acting smaller parts with a large number of people on stage will be easiest for them, but their confidence will grow fast – they’ll be performing monologues before you know it.
Acting also teaches kids that everyone messes up sometimes. Not everything will always go their way; they may forget a line or stumble on stage, but this is natural and it’s possible to move on and carry on.
Participate in sport
Sports aren’t for everyone, but they are a great way for kids to get outside and enjoy some exercise. No matter whether they enjoy tennis or football, every sport can be a great confidence builder, especially ones that require teamwork. Sport teaches children they cannot always win and that they must keep their temper under control when they do lose.
Moreover, the only way to succeed in sports is to put in a great deal of effort and practice. Realising this will make them determined to work hard towards their other goals. Teamwork is also vital in many sports, and striving to achieve a common goal can really build confidence. They will recognise they play an important role and that their individual efforts impact everyone.
Bake a cake or cook a meal
We all feel proud after creating a meal that makes the whole family go ‘mmm!’. Cooking is a vital skill that everyone needs to learn, but it’s also a great confidence builder. It shows children that hard work and devotion can result in a positive outcome, such as a scrummy cake! All that time they spent carefully measuring out the ingredients and waiting for it to bake was worth it.
Plus, it’s an activity you can do together. You’re showing your child that skills like yours can be passed on and that they will become better at them over time. You can support them throughout the cooking process and take over any tasks that might be too dangerous for them, like chopping up vegetables or taking things out of the oven.
Learn to play an instrument
This another challenging skill that builds confidence over time. No one is born knowing how to play a piano or guitar – it takes a lot of practice and determination. Learning to play your first song, no matter how simple it may be, is a proud moment for any child, and it will show them just how far they’ve come.
The next challenge will be performing in front of others. It’s another test of their confidence they must overcome if they wish to have a musical career. Being good at something that so many people can’t do will really increase their self-esteem, especially when they receive praise for their performances.
What else can I do to increase my child’s confidence?
- Compliment them: Praise is incredibly important, as it makes your child feel good and will therefore encourage them to continue with what they’re doing.
- Don’t save them from failure: Kids need to learn that it’s okay not to succeed. It’s a part of everyday life and isn’t something they should be afraid of.
- Let them make their own decisions: It shows you care about their thoughts and opinions, which will increase their confidence.
- Encourage any interests: Whether your child loves riding their bike or playing video games, it’s vital to show an interest. Kids love being an expert at something, especially if it’s something that you can’t do.
- Let them solve their own problems: If your child has fallen out with their best friend, ask them what they could do to make amends. Problem-solving skills are important to learn and will give them the confidence to sort out their own issues, rather than relying on others.
Building confidence takes time, but a little encouragement can go a long way. That high self-esteem will serve them well in later life.