Helping your child overcome their fears and boosting their confidence is an important way of preparing them for their future.
Confident children are more likely to try new things, discover skills and talents and fulfil their potential as they get older. But how do you encourage a child to combat their shyness and believe in themselves?
- Praise effort, regardless of results
If a child is worried they might not be able to do something well, they might be reluctant to even try it in the first place. Make a conscious effort to praise your child for attempting things even if they find it difficult and are unable to do it at first. Showing your child you appreciate the effort they are making rather than focusing on the results will make them feel happier about giving new things a go. Celebrate those moments where your son or daughter shows perseverance by picking themselves up and having another go. And remember not to criticise – make constructive suggestions if you genuinely think they will help but never show them you are disappointed by their performance.
2. Follow their interests but keep the pressure off
If your child has a particular interest, encourage them to spend time on it but be careful not to put them under pressure. The goal of extracurricular activities should be enjoyment rather than achievement. While it is important to applaud any awards, badges or honours, make sure your child realises that this isn’t the most important thing. One of the things which sets Noodle Performance Arts apart from traditional theatre schools is our informal, no-pressure approach. With no compulsory exams, our students can focus on having fun, making friends and discovering new skills.
3. Allow them to solve their own problems
Obviously there will be plenty of occasions when you need to help your child when they have a problem but stepping in straight away with a solution every time they struggle can have a detrimental effect on their confidence. Encourage your child to think of their own ways of overcoming whatever challenge they face. Help them to sort through their ideas and provide them with the tools they need but try not to take over unless you have to. This is not only important for developing their problem-solving skills but vital for confidence too. When they make mistakes, reassure them that they are an important part of the learning process. The feeling your child will get when they realise they have worked something out for themselves will empower them and encourage them to believe in their own abilities.
4. Let kids be kids
Don’t be afraid of letting your child relax, have fun and act their age. Having unrealistic expectations of their behaviour is setting your son or daughter up for failure and risks undermining their confidence. This doesn’t mean you should tolerate rudeness or unkind behaviour but make sure that what you are asking of them is age appropriate. Children need plenty of time to burn off their energy and play so give them opportunities to run around and be silly. Allowing them time to move and be loud will make them more likely to behave when you need them to and will show your little one that you love and accept them for who they are. Activities like drama, dance and singing are a really positive way of channelling your child’s energy and giving them space to express themselves.
5. Set small and achievable challenges
When your child manages to do something new successfully, it gives them a real confidence boost. Ask them to complete small achievable tasks and give them little responsibilities so they can feel like an important member of the team at home. Nurturing a sense of independence helps them develop their sense of self-confidence and makes them realise they can do more than they might think.
6. Be confident yourself
You are your child’s most important role model so lead by example and demonstrate confidence to your son or daughter. Let them see you being brave, trying new things and believing in yourself. Don’t criticise yourself in front of them and try not to focus on feeling worried or anxious about something. If your child sees you behaving in a confident way, they are more likely to feel confident themselves.
At Noodle Performance Arts, one of our favourite things about teaching performing arts is watching our students grow in confidence. Find out more about our classes here.