How to Help Keep Your Children Confident and Sociable as They Grow

How to Help Keep Your Children Confident and Sociable as They Grow

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I wouldn’t have called myself a confident child, I was quiet and a bit shy, although paradoxically I longed for the limelight! Talking about a Nativity play? Make me Mary!! (Albeit a softly spoken Mary whose words didn’t reach the people at the back of the church.) Now as an adult I look back on how self conscious I was as a girl, and especially a teenager, and I wish I could go back and tell myself a few things to boost my confidence and self esteem.

Some children really struggle to grow in confidence. If you think back, you may remember that when you were in your developmental years heading towards adolescence, it was very easy to want to retreat into your shell. If you had a difficult time during your childhood, it can directly affect the way you feel as an adult. Obviously, the ideal is to be a confident and competent grown-up in everyday situations, but how do you achieve that ideal?

Thinking about your own children, if you have an impressionable or shy child on your hands, you’re probably concerned about how to help boost their esteem and keep them in good spirits as they learn more about life – and as they turn into young adults. Their social life also matters a lot as they grow, so you’ll want to ensure that you’re giving them the best possible opportunities to develop in that area. Here are some ideas you can take on board to help them achieve confidence:  

Photo: Liberty Henwick

Be Positive And Optimistic About Most Things Each Day

Kids bounce off of your feelings and behavior. Check with yourself what tone you’re setting each day. The way you are as a person is largely reflective of the people around you and those who raised you. So if you want to encourage a positive child who will want to be out and mix with others confidently, then you’re going to have to nurture an environment of joy and optimism. Obviously we go through difficult times and being happy won’t be possible all the time. It can be a hard ask right now due to COVID-19, but a positive stance will help children both now and in the future.

How do you start your own day? Do you set aside some quiet time for meditation. prayer or mental preparation for the day ahead? Setting yourself up in the right frame of mind each morning will help you cope with how you interact with your children.

Teach Them About Important Everyday Things 

Children who learn how to master small tasks like household chores and other basic skills like tying their own shoes or buttoning their own clothes will grow into confident teenagers – and then confident adults. If they know how to operate the small things in daily life with confidence, then they’ll feel more capable. If you do everything for them, you rob them of the opportunity to learn and they’ll feel uncertain or even incompetent when they have to take care of themselves. 

Allow them to struggle with the little jobs so that they can feel the satisfaction of mastering them for themselves. However, avoid using language that is critical or belittling, rather support and encourage them as they tackle difficult tasks.

Encourage Them to Join Clubs and Groups 

It might be quite difficult to start with, but getting your kids to join different clubs and groups that they might be interested in can really do a lot for them. You become more socially confident and aware by being around others. It is fine to enjoy your own company, but being too detached from society can have serious long term consequences.

With lockdown and travel restrictions right now this is an even greater challenge and parents need to try harder to keep their children socially engaged but once you start looking you will find there are a number of online activities and groups available. Thankfully we have access nowadays to various online platforms that enable our children to see and chat to one another.

Whether it’s a music group, community church (or here) or a soccer team, be sure to encourage them to join. You could even attend with them to begin with, if it helps them.  

Keep Them Active and Exercising

Exercise is like magic – as long as children are on the move, they feel happy! You don’t need them to become the greatest athlete in the world, but they’ll feel a lot better if they’re active and not sitting around for long periods. When a person idles for too long, they can feel useless – activity generates activity.

Nowadays, with the lure of screens and with the added combination of bad weather if it’s the winter time, it’s a huge struggle for parents to get their children up off the sofa. The temptation to leave them sitting quietly for extended periods is huge. A way around this is to set screen limits and schedule regular breaks as well as a set aside time for exercise every day – children need an hour of exercise daily.

Children going on a walk
Photo: Liberty Henwick

Ultimately, if your child is generally happy and healthy and doesn’t worry too much about how they appear to other people, they’re likely to cope well in life. If you can do what you can to ensure they know that they are loved, then you’re on the right track. There are many more ways you can boost your child’s confidence, hopefully these few points will act as a starting point!

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