10 Tips All Parents Can Use to Build Confidence & Leadership in Kids
Posted: March 07, 2017
Every parent wants happy, healthy and self-confident kids.
Here at Victory Martial Arts, our instructors feel that teaching kids martial arts can help build self-confidence in children of all ages. The techniques we practice helps children to be accurate in their movements, skilled in their learning and confident in their martial arts skills.
There are also many other great ways that you can instill self-confidence in your children, here are some suggestions.
Make Them Think
Kids love to learn new things and do, believe it or not, enjoy a challenge. Provide ideas that can spark the imagination in your children then follow-up to help them through the process. Here are just a couple ideas.
- Provide riddles or puzzles to solve. These can range from a simple question that has no answer but sparks creative thought to more standard brain-teasers like Sudoku or board games.
- Introduce them to books that ask questions or add new topics or adventures. This will allow them to expand their knowledge and fantasize about faraway places or their experiences.
- Work together to solve problems, but make them take the lead. Working together with your child to solve a riddle, or performing a task around the house can build self-confidence and allow them to be a superstar in your eyes.
Engage Them Socially
Let’s face it, today’s kids spend too much of their time in front of a TV or smartphone screen than we would like. Getting children socially active can help them from becoming withdrawn and can build self-confidence with others in their age group and even with adults. Here are some suggestions.
- Hold an adult party, or maybe a barbecue and ask the kids to help. They can answer the door, take coats, introduce guests as they arrive and even help serve (non-alcoholic) beverages and food. Interacting with adults can help them relate to the older age group and expand their horizons.
- Have them host their own party. Have them plan, send out invitations, shop for food and supplies, prepare for guests and, well, run the whole show. This will teach planning and make them big shots in the eyes of their friends. What could be more confidence building than that?
- Have them take a class, maybe martial arts, swimming or other physical or crafts-oriented education. This will help keep them active and away from the computer or TV while teaching them life skills.
Have Them Help
Kids like feeling that they are making a difference. Helping other people can provide them with satisfaction and a feeling that they are assisting others. Asking kids to contribute will allow them to see that tasks take effort and thinking and will prepare them for larger tasks ahead. Here is a couple of ways that kids can help.
- Help around the house; this will give them self-confidence by contributing to a safe, clean place to live while working with their parents in a team effort.
- Bring cupcakes to a nursing home. This will allow youngsters to see how adults live when they get older and is an excellent venue for adult praise to be lavished on the kids.
- Volunteering at the local animal shelter is pretty much a natural. Kids love animals, and animals love kids. Caring for a shelter animal will build both a sense of responsibility and sense of self-confidence. Just be prepared when your child wants to bring that puppy home with them!
Let Them Pursue Their interests
Kids want to be emotionally attached to what they do. Letting kids pursue their interests is a great way to let them explore for themselves and build a bond with what they are doing.
Don't be tempted to force them into what you think they should like, let them develop what they love. But, a little parental guidance may be needed if their ideas get too outrageous or downright dangerous.
We like to praise our children when they do good things, but this can go too far. Self-confidence takes time, and when parents shower praise on their kids for every little thing, they can set the bar too low and keep the child from pushing to do better. Praise when something great happens, but keep praise for that special occasion.
Let Them Make the Decisions
Kids feel empowered when they run the show. Giving them the opportunity to make their decisions helps them build confidence and good judgment. Just make sure they know the limits and provide them with choices. Here are a couple of examples.
- Let them decide from a couple of choices for lunch on school days.
- Once they know the difference between warm and cold days, let them make decisions on how warm to dress. (You’ll be surprised how quickly they opt for the warm clothes on cold days!)
- Let them, within reason, choose their wardrobe, hair style, and bedroom decorations.
We all know the “helicopter parent.” Keeping too close watch on your kids can stifle their creativity and sense of independence. Let them take a few risks. Let them be on their own a little. Here are a couple of thoughts.
- Encourage them to read a book or solve a puzzle on their own.
- Let them stay at a friend’s house overnight or for the weekend.
- Give them a "longer leash" on the playground or the nature trail.
Be Calm & Confident
Children notice their parents much more than you would think, and they can pick up on their moods quite easily. Try to maintain calm when things don't go right or when the parents are having a tough time with parent-related issues. Maintain confidence in your, and your child's abilities. Here are a couple of thoughts.
- Don’t blow up when your child doesn’t perform up to your expectations. Encourage rather than scold and calmly guide your child towards improvement.
- Be confident in your abilities towards nurturing your child. This confidence will come with experience and can be helped along with books on parenting, or just from speaking with other parents.
Every child will have up days and down days. When things are good, give praise when appropriate. When things aren't so great, stand back a little and see if your child can work it out for themselves.
Fantasize About the Future
Even young kids know that they will grow someday, and having them think about their future will help give ideas about where they will be someday. Talk to your child about how you chose your career and how other adults chose theirs.
Don’t limit your child’s expectations, they can always change their mind, but future fantasizing will get them in the goal-setting mood.