Raise a confident child in 10 steps

By Dr Richard C. Woolfson   — February 21, 2019
  • Believe in him 
    1 / 10 Believe in him 

    A great deal of your child’s self-confidence stems from self-belief, which in turn stems from the belief you have in your child – what you think of him, how much you value him, and how secure he feels in his relationships.

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  • Encourage social skills
    2 / 10 Encourage social skills

    Social skills such as taking turns, sharing and following rules don’t come naturally to most children. These are essential skills that usually have to be learned through parental guidance and experience. As well as teaching him these at home, he acquires them spontaneously through mixing with his peers.

    Related: 6 ways to boost your child’s social skills

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  • Explain manners
    3 / 10 Explain manners

    Children who are polite and who recognise the rights of others typically cope very well in social situations with both children and adults. Explain to your child the importance of politeness, such as saying “please” and “thank you” at the appropriate times. He’ll soon start to notice the effect of good manners himself.

    Related: Teach your toddler good manners

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  • Involve him in family discussions 
    4 / 10 Involve him in family discussions 

    For example, during mealtimes or when you are all together in the evening, these are good chances for him to learn how to take part in conversations, and contribute his ideas calmly and clearly. He’ll soon be able to transfer these skills to non-family discussions.

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  • Praise success 
    5 / 10 Praise success 

    When you child presents well in front of others, let him know how delighted you are that he spoke so confidently. He thrives on your praise, and he’ll try hard to achieve the same effect the next time round.

    Related: 10 ways to praise your kid

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  • Take note of body language 
    6 / 10 Take note of body language 

    The way your child stands, holds his hands, and makes eye-contact with the person he speaks to is another component of social confidence. Suggest to him that he always looks at the other speaker, he faces them square-on, smiles, and stands upright.

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  • Ask his opinion
    7 / 10 Ask his opinion

    He may be young, but your child does have ideas of his own about most things. Asking him to tell you what he thinks gets him used to sharing his thoughts with others. The more he does this with you, the easier it becomes for him to chat confidently and smoothly with others.

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  • Make small talk 
    8 / 10 Make small talk 

    For some kids, the most difficult part of any social encounter is the first few moments with another party, when he just can’t think of anything to say. You can increase his confidence by giving him ideas for “small talk”, such as asking the other child what her favourite toy is or what songs she likes.

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  • Give him speech guidelines
    9 / 10 Give him speech guidelines

    It’s not enough to tell your child how he shouldn’t speak. You also need to explain the style and type of language he should use. For example, point out that he should talk slowly and clearly, use full sentences rather than phrases, and listen to the other person’s comments, too.

    Related: Teach your preschooler the rules of conversation

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  • Set a good example yourself 
    10 / 10 Set a good example yourself 

    He watches you closely and learns from you. So if you are socially confident and well-spoken, this provides a role model for him to copy in his own social interactions. Be prepared to answer any questions he might ask about what you said or the way you stood – that’s part of the process.

    (Photos: 123RF.com)

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