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The CURIOOKids Malaysia Blog
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The CURIOOKids Malaysia Blog

With two young and active children, when they play and interact with their friends and other children, it is very easy to see those children that feel good about themselves and those that don’t. The children that feel good about themselves are much more willing to try new activities and experiences and don’t seem to care too much about how well they do at those activities at first. We often describe this idea of feeling good about ourselves as "self-confidence”. Some children (and adults) seem to have it and others don’t.

When we see the kids with self-confidence, they:

· feel liked and accepted by the people around them

· feel confident in their abilities and what they say

· feel proud of what they can do

· seem to be able to believe in themselves

Unfortunately, the kids with low self-esteem:

· are often critical and hard on themselves

· feel they're not as good as other kids

· think of the times they fail rather than when they succeed

· lack confidence and doubt they can do things well

Being self-confident doesn’t mean that the child is necessarily loud and dominating, in fact this kind of behaviour can mean the opposite, it can mean they are over compensating and inside actually they don’t feel confident. There are many quieter children that are more introverted that are also confident in their abilities but don’t need to express it to everyone around them.

Why is self-confidence important?

Kids who feel good about themselves have the confidence to try new things. They are more likely to try their best. They feel proud of what they can do. This inner self-confidence helps them to cope with mistakes and to try again, even if they fail at first. As a result, self-confidence helps kids do better at school, at home, and with friends.

Kids with low self-confidence often feel unsure of their abilities and can struggle with their emotions. If they think others won't accept them, they may not join in and sometime, and tragically, they may let other kids treat them poorly. They may have a hard time standing up for themselves because they lack the confidence to voice their opinions. They may give up easily, or not try at all. Kids with low self-esteem find it hard to cope when they make a mistake, lose, or fail. As a result, they sadly may not do as well as they could.

How does self-confidence develop?

The development of self-confidence starts very young, as early as when our children are babies. It develops slowly over time and it starts when a child feels safe, loved, and accepted.

As babies become toddlers and young children, they're able to do some things all by themselves and become more independent. They feel good about themselves when they can use their new skills. Their self-esteem grows when parents pay attention, and importantly, let’s the child try new things without fear of making a mistake, gives smiles and encouragement and shows they are proud that they are trying. As a parent, it is important to not ‘over-protect’ the child, they need to make mistakes and learn, it develops problem-solving skills and resilience, important later in life.

As kids grow, self-confidence also grows and this happens any time kids try new activities, experience new environments, and learn new things can be a chance for self-confidence to grow. This can happen when kids:

· set a goal and make progress toward a goal

· learn new skills at school and in their afterschool classes

· make friends and get along with a group of people

· understand their aptitude and interests in areas such as music, numbers, sports, art, tech

· this leads to them doing things they're good at and enjoy

· practice their favorite activities so they become better and better at what they like doing

· help, give, or be kind 

· get praise for good behaviors

· try hard at something

· are included by others

· feel understood and accepted

· get a prize or a good grade they know they've earned

When kids have self-confident, they feel capable, and accepted for who they really are.

8 Actions Parents can Take Today to Improve the Self-Confidence in their Child.

Every child is unique and self-confidence may come easier to some kids than to others. It could just be a part of their natural personality or it could come from their home environment, but the good thing is that even if a child has low self-confidence, with the support of parents, it can be raised.

Here are things parents can do to help their kids feel good about themselves: 

1) Help your child learn to do things. At every age, there are new things for kids to learn. Even during babyhood, learning to hold a cup or take first steps sparks a sense of mastery and delight. As your child grows, things like learning to dress, read, or ride a bike are chances for self-esteem to grow.

2) When teaching kids how to do things, show and help them at first. Then let them do what they can, even if they make mistakes. Be sure your child gets a chance to learn, try, and feel proud. Don't make new challenges too easy — or too hard.

3) Praise your child, but do it wisely. Of course, it's good to praise kids. Your praise is a way to show that you're proud. But some ways of praising kids can actually backfire.

Here's how to do it right:

· Don't overpraise. Praise that doesn't feel earned doesn't ring true. For example, telling a child he played a great game when he knows he didn't feels hollow and fake. It's better to say, "I know that wasn't your best game, but we all have off days. I'm proud of you for not giving up." Add a vote of confidence: "Tomorrow, you'll be back on your game."

· Praise effort. Avoid focusing praise only on results (such as getting an A) or fixed qualities (such as being smart or athletic). Instead, offer most of your praise for effort, progress, and attitude. For example: "You're working hard on that project," "You're getting better and better at these spelling tests," or, "I'm proud of you for practicing art — you've really stuck with it." With this kind of praise, kids put effort into things, work toward goals, and try. When kids do that, they're more likely to succeed.

4) Be a good role model. When you put effort into everyday tasks (working hard, making a meal, cleaning up the dishes, or washing the car), you're setting a good example. Your child learns to put effort into doing homework, cleaning up toys, or making the bed.

Modelling the right attitude is important too. When you do tasks cheerfully (or at least without grumbling or complaining), you teach your child to do the same. When you avoid rushing through chores and take pride in a job well done, you teach your child to do that too.

5) Ban harsh criticism. The messages kids hear about themselves from others easily translate into how they feel about themselves. Harsh words ("You're so lazy!", “You’re not very smart”, “You can’t do that”. “She’s better than you”) are harmful, not motivating. When kids hear negative messages about themselves, it harms their self-confidence. Correct kids with patience. Focus on what you want them to do next time. When needed, show them how.

6) Focus on strengths. Pay attention to what your child does well and enjoys. Make sure your child has chances to develop these strengths. Focus more on strengths than weaknesses if you want to help kids feel good about themselves. This improves behavior too.

Let kids help and give. Self-esteem grows when kids get to see that what they do matters to others. Kids can help out at home, do a service project at school, or do a favor for a sibling. Helping and kind acts build self-esteem and other good feelings.