A child’s early years are the most crucial period in developing confidence.
Studies have shown that a child who lacks confidence will be reluctant to try new or challenging things because they are scared of failing or disappointing others. This fear can result in holding them back later in life, potentially preventing them from having a successful career.
So, how does one go about raising a child with a strong sense of self-worth?
We speak our Head of Training and Development specialist, Ms Nancy Lee-Wong, to find out more.
What are the defining qualities of a confident child?
A confident child is one who feels secure, autonomous and competent. To achieve this, children must be allowed to explore their interests in order to grow up as independent people with strong sense of self.
When should I start giving my child autonomy to discover his interests? Aren’t they too young to know what they want?
Every child has a biological need and desire to learn, as part of the foundational networking of the brain’s synapses. From infancy, start by giving your child simple choices with two options – Which colour would they prefer? Which toy would they like to play with? It will give them room to discover their own preferences.
As they grow older, be it art, swimming or ballet, give your child your fullest support at developing their interests. Although they may grow out of it, the key takeaway is to teach them to finish what they started. This allows them to get a sense of accomplishment at the end, and builds their self-esteem.
How do I go about developing a strong sense of self in my child?
It is essential for every child to feel loved and appreciated. One way would be to have open conversations with your child. Use a gentle tone, a wide range of vocabulary, and a lot of expression to engage him.
Do ensure that the content is within his cognitive understanding, in order to establish a two-way conversation. Most importantly, you must respect your child’s decision and opinions. This makes the child feel valued, and lets him know that his opinions matter.
To build confidence in my child, should I simply praise my child for every achievement?
As parents, we have to let our children understand that praise must be earned, and that it should be for something specific like cleaning up after himself. Highlight that it is the efforts they put in that is more important, and not necessarily the final product or end goal.
The point is, we need to allow them to discover their strengths and weaknesses, in order to help them grow and develop into a well-adjusted adult.
How important is my participation in my child’s activities or playtime?
It is crucial that a child has support and encouragement from his parents during the early developmental years. A parent’s presence and participation in a child’s activities are much stronger motivational pushes besides praises and kind words.
Depending on the activity, participation can be either active (through engagement and interaction), or passive (through observation). One thing is for sure – having your undivided attention tells them that they are worth your time, and makes them feel loved!
About the Expert:
Nancy Lee-Wong is a RIE™ Inspired Practitioner who specialises in early care and education.
Formerly Programme Director at Asian International College, she obtained her Masters of Education (Early Childhood Education) from Monash University, Australia. She also holds a Bachelor of Social Science (Family & Children Studies) from Edith Cowan University, Australia.
Nancy is an accredited trainer and practicum supervisor for Early Childhood Education and Infant-Toddler Educare, as well as a qualified infant massage instructor.
This December, come meet Ms Nancy Lee-Wong at our parenting talk on “Raising a Confident Child” at Kiddiwinkie Schoolhouse @The Grandstand!