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Student Potential

3 Practical Tips to Boost Your Child’s Confidence


Parents play a crucial role in the socialization of their children. When it comes to a child’s confidence and self-esteem, there are many actions parents can take to help them build strength, resilience and worthiness.

Confidence is a belief in oneself, the conviction that one has the ability to meet life’s challenges and to succeed—and the willingness to act accordingly. While self-esteem refers to a person’s overall sense of his or her value or worth. It can be considered a sort of measure of how much a person values, approves of, appreciates, prizes, or likes him or herself. In a nutshell, confidence is not being afraid to try, and self-esteem is loving yourself no matter the outcome.

Although self-esteem and confidence are two different things, the steps parents can take to foster these attributes are the same.

It’s important to recognize that parents do not have control over the outcomes in their children’s lives. Parents can, however, act as a guide, to impart wisdom where appropriate, and love and support their children while they grow, mature, succeed and fail.

Building self-esteem and confidence in children involves a combination of positive reinforcement, encouragement and fostering a supportive environment while trying new things and managing failure.

Here are 3 parenting tips to keep in mind when trying to boost a child’s confidence and self-esteem in their formative elementary school years:

Encourage them to try new things

When children are trying something new or building on a skillset they already have, take a step back and allow them to take healthy risks. Making even the littlest of choices, like whether or not to wear gloves in the winter, will help build confidence in their decision making.

With choices that require more of an investment of time and money, such as music lessons or extracurricular activities, we can support them by ensuring they see it through, even when they’re tired or want to quit. Encouraging them to challenge themselves will teach them resilience and foster a sense of pride – qualities that promote confidence and self-assurance in kids.

Teach them to embrace failure

Developing self-worth and confidence in children has a lot to do with how failure is managed. To cultivate self-worth, children need to learn how to take the good with the bad, without being crippled by their shortcomings. This means they need to give themselves permission to fail. How can parents help? By allowing kids to make mistakes in the first place!

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new” – Albert Einstein

Experiencing failure is actually a gift. Letting children venture out and safely try new things, even when the outcome isn’t in their favour, promotes independence and teaches them problem-solving and coping skills.

Failure can also be used as an opportunity to praise effort instead of outcome. Let them know you’re proud of them for doing their best or being brave when they’ve tried something new and start a conversation about how the challenge made them feel about themselves – this is great for their self-esteem!

Create a supportive environment

A parent’s job throughout their entire parenting journey is to support their children with a safe and loving environment to both thrive and fail in. Build self-esteem by promoting positive-self talk and providing unconditional love that is not dependant on achievements or good behaviour. Possibly most important of all: Parents, be a model of healthy self-esteem!

A supportive and caring family will not only show the child how to be a good friend, but also set expectations for their peers. When difficult social situations arise, the child will hopefully have enough confidence to manage the situation on their own and feel safe to talk to their parents when guidance is needed.

Knowing they can trust their parents enough to share not only their triumphs, but difficulties and failures as well is one of the greatest gifts a parent can give their child. Self-esteem and confidence will have the opportunity to flourish in children when they know they’re loved for who they are and not what they can do or how well they behave, and they will carry this knowing throughout their lifetime.

Written by Embark

Embark is Canada’s education savings and planning company. The organization aims to help families and students along their post-secondary journeys, giving them innovative tools and advice to take hold of their bright futures and succeed.