Updated: Apr 22, 2022
Why do most assume that children will simply ‘figure out’ how to build something as important as confidence on their own? After all, as adults, we see the difference it makes in delivering amazing presentations and in communicating ideas. We see how self-confidence drives resilience, even in the face of unending challenges.
Instead of passively hoping for the best, what else can you do to nurture your child’s self-esteem? At AGrader Learning Centre, we believe in using positive cycles to develop confidence.
With support, our students build their abilities, gain confidence in using these skills, and develop more confidence to grow their capabilities.
Before starting the positive cycle, recognise that confidence is not something your child is born with. While it may come more naturally to some than others, confidence is ultimately a skill.
Like all skills, it can be developed with practice, feedback, and time. In this blog post, we’ve detailed four simple habits and mindsets you can use, starting today.
1. Celebrate Effort
Praise your child’s efforts instead of focusing on outcomes and fixed qualities such as ‘good’ or ‘smart’.
Feedback is key to developing any skill, and confidence is no exception. Praising their behaviours, rather than only offering a positive response, helps your child to learn what they did well.
Conversely, rather than stating that they may have earned a ‘bad’ score, give them specific tasks or behaviours to improve on.
Let’s say your child didn’t score well for a math test because of a specific topic – fractions. Offering feedback on how to improve their ability to work out fractions lets them focus on things they can change. This way, they no longer tell themselves, 'I can't do the math'. This prevents the start of a cycle of negative self-talk and that may lower self-confidence. Instead, your child gets into problem-solving mode. They review where they fell short and make plans to do better.
Celebrate their efforts beyond the classroom as well. If your child wins at football, praise them for spotting opportunities to pass the ball, or working well with their teammates.
If your child tries a new activity like skateboarding, praise them for persevering despite falling down multiple times. Get specific so that your child is clear on the behaviours to repeat or learn from. This way, they can continue to build their abilities and self-confidence.
2. Nurture Independence
Give your child the chance to do things on their own. This helps them to build awareness of their abilities and confidence in what they’re capable of.
Start with relatively easy tasks, such as age-appropriate household chores. This includes: tidying up after themselves, doing the dishes, making their own snacks, or helping to make dinner.
It’s important for kids to start with something easy. Use small wins to boost their confidence, and kick-start the positive cycle. In time, their confidence grows and they’re empowered to take care of themselves.
3. Allow Mistakes
As you empower your child to take on more tasks, resist the urge to make well-meaning interventions. They may take longer to complete tasks like setting the table, but are actually able to do so!
If you take over to help, your child never actually learns how to physically complete the task. They also don’t get to see what they’re capable of or learn from their mistakes.
Worse still, they may get used to the idea that someone will save them, never learning to be responsible and solve their problems.
With little or no practice, the development of their abilities is limited. They may even doubt what they’re actually capable of.
So offer help, if they ask for it, but do your best to resist stepping in. Give them time and space to keep practising so that they may develop their abilities.
4. Try New Things
Whether it’s sampling different foods or taking part in new activities, encourage your child to be open to new things.
Exploring different interests helps your child to develop their sense of identity and become more secure with the person they are. So, build a habit of discovering and trying new things as a family.
You could be ambitious and make a pact to try all foods at least once.
Or start small, with a commitment to do something new once a month. This could be trying a new sport like swimming, taking a guided tour in a museum, or exploring a new walking trail.
If your child does find something they’re really interested in, support them in growing their passion.
Deliberate practice and repetition can reinforce positive cycles, and help your child to build self-confidence and independence. At AGrader Tuition Centre, all our students get access to the exclusive Everloop Improvement System on top of their weekly lessons.
Through Everloop, students get unlimited revision sessions to practise what they’ve already learned. As they reinforce their understanding of different topics, their abilities to tackle such questions improve. In time, they build self-confidence, resilience, and a growth mindset. Learn more about how Everloop works here.