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Confidence is hard to pin down. It’s a mood, it’s a facial expression, and it’s a person’s posture.

How does a child attain this invaluable characteristic? It comes primarily from their environment, specifically from parents. Learn about the two most important things that only parents can give, and specific things you can do every day to help your children’s confidence grow.

The two keys to building confidence in children can only come from parents.  Love and approval.

Children need their parents’ unconditional love and approval. When they have these personal building blocks, they can step out of their comfort zone. Confident children always know their parents “have their back.” When confident children falter, they know they can get close to their parents to get built back up again. They can step out once more to face another challenge.

Use “baby talk” only during specific play situations.

Otherwise, talk to your child in full sentences; let him or her strive to be at your level. Start this when your child is an infant. Talk to your child in a way that assumes they have competence; be a confidence role model from the beginning. Praise your child when you notice their growth and improvement.

Play with your child.

This may seem too simple, but children get more than just some fun when parents play with them. They get the message that they are worth your effort, your time. As they explore their ideas and ask questions, you can affirm and challenge them. This combination does wonderful things for a child’s confidence. They can try out new things with a solid emotional safety net underneath them.

Reflect the best in your child back to them.

Children can easily get caught up in their emotions. Sometimes, they take comments or actions too personally and they start to believe something bad about themselves. Reassure your child of the good things you see in them. Comment on other times you’ve noticed these same good things. For example, you might say, “Remember last week, when I said how proud I was that you did it all by yourself? You really are good at it. You don’t have to believe what those other kids say. You know and I know the truth. Right?”

Encourage them to try new things and take a few calculated risks.

However, help them understand realistic expectations as well. This can be a tricky balance, especially when you have either an especially persistent ambitious child or a very cautious “slow to warm up” child. Either extreme still needs to have encouragement and caution, but geared specifically for their needs. As long as they know they have your love and approval, your children can forge ahead with confidence.

Give children age-appropriate chores.

When a person feels they have purpose, their spirit gets a lift. They know that others count on them, and they feel satisfied having given their time. Instill the idea that everyone pitches in and does their part. The kitchen floor won’t get clean unless John sweeps it every night after supper. The lawn will grow over unless Karen mows it twice a week. They can directly see the impact of their efforts, which increases their feeling of self worth and personal value. This comes through as personal confidence.

Confidence is so important for a child. It gives them the ability to handle unexpected situations or problems. They can take on bigger challenges that stretch their abilities. Just remember that your unconditional love and approval are the keys to your child’s confidence.

You might also find the following helpful:

Age-Appropriate Manners and Lessons

Parent's Survival Guide to Puberty

Bullying in Schools

Giving More Attention

Cleaning Their Rooms