Some of us aren’t born with confidence, our parents had to teach us how to be confident. For instance, my youngest child is high strung and the leader out of my two. Whereas my oldest is more timid and shy and would rather take direction from someone. Depending on the situation the roles can switch. That’s why we always say my youngest is more like Brent (my husband) and my eldest is more like me. I’ve always been shy and Brent’s always been confident.
I want both of my children to have the same confidence we all should have. Rather than shying away from challenges and second-guessing themselves, I want my children to have the self-assurance that they are capable of anything. I’m no expert and I’ve only been in the parenting game for four years but these are all things we are trying, learning, or doing.
Let them try on their own
It could be them brushing their own teeth, undressing or dressing, even making their own sandwich. Yes, I said to make their own sandwich lol. Bread, meat, cheese, sauce or a simple pb&j. Using kid-safe utensils or under supervision of course. Making a sandwich can make a little kid feel like a big kid if you hype them up enough. When I let Jai’Marie make her first-ever PB&J she was the happiest/proudest thing walking!
Whatever your kids want to do (as long as it doesn’t hurt them or anyone else) ENCOURAGE, ENCOURAGE, ENCOURAGE. Don’t ever say, “oh, I don’t think you can do that baby”. Because at the end of the day your child is going to surprise you every day with what they can do so don’t limit them with your doubts!
No matter how hard the day was for you make sure at the end of it you are showing them how much you love them. As a stay at home mom of two very hyperactive children I am exhausted, annoyed, and on the verge of tears. But right before bedtime, I make sure I get those hugs and kisses and tell them how much I love them.
Sometimes when my kids would come up to me and tell me something I would half-listen. That was until I saw the sadness on their face when they realized I wasn’t really listening. Now when either of my babies has something to tell me I make sure to stop what I’m doing or at least make sure I’m listening fully. They are people too, they’re just small and learning, they need you to show them they matter. If it’s important to them make it important to you.
Let them lead during playtime
If you are anything like me, you sometimes find yourself playing with your adult brain. The blocks have to be perfect, the makeup has to be perfect, the colors. You’re playing like you’ve done this before and that’s because you have. So chill out, channel your inner child and let them take the lead. You’re in their world now, if they want the dinosaurs and dolls to cohabitate — let em!
This is my favorite one lol cause mama needs all the help she can get! Of course, they need to be age-appropriate. For instance, I let my girls clean up their toys, put away their dishes, put their shoes where they go, put their dirty clothes in the hamper and even fold towels. They feel like “big kids” when they’re done and after a while, they just do it on their own.
This can tie in with everything listed above. Make sure you are celebrating your toddlers and not the generic “good job!”, you need to be specific with your compliments. You can compliment them on getting themselves dressed, putting their toys where they go, their imagination, even eating all of their food. We all love compliments and our toddlers are just as deserving, no matter how small or big the accomplishment.
As parents, we often worry about our children’s confidence, not just now but in the future. If we can inspire that confidence at home while they’re still young, there is nothing they won’t put their minds to. Don’t be hard on yourself, there is no rule book for this thing called parenting. The fact that you even read this should let you know you are trying. Even if you aren’t confident in yourself, introducing this confidence in your children at a young age could be beneficial for them in the long run.