Building confidence in young babies
One of the essential skills a parent can instil in a child is a strong belief in their ability. Confident children are more independent.
They make friends quickly, thrive in new experiences, and comfortably take risks.
They learn perseverance, become excellent problem solvers, and achieve greater academic and social success.
Most importantly, they feel good about themselves and are proud of their accomplishments.
Building confidence in your child is about more than constant praise and positive affirmations. It's about demonstrating respect and love, showing them their self-worth. By supporting your child's confidence from a very early age, you are providing vital life lessons they can use in every new or changing experience they encounter as they grow.
Nurture your lifelong bond.
Strong and effective relationships are a massive boost to a child's confidence. And your bond with your child couldn't be more critical. Every time you hold, play, and talk to your baby, from the moment they are born to the day they excitedly run through the school gates, you play a crucial part in their development.
You are establishing a lifelong attachment, a trusted relationship that allows your baby to feel comfortable, happy, and secure when entering into healthy, positive relationships with others throughout their life.
Praise even the most minor achievement.
From the very beginning of their life, our babies have been working hard to learn about the world around them and master new skills almost daily. You can encourage self-expression and boost confidence from a very young age by giving your baby specific praise for all their hard work. In turn, this will support the development of independence as they begin to learn about the things they can do all by themselves.
For example, if your baby makes any sounds or vocalisations, smile and compliment them on their "wonderful talking". If they begin to kick their legs, praise them with lots of attention and say, "Great kicking, well done." Lots of positive praise such as this is a technique that is often adopted through the Montessori approach!
Celebrate their uniqueness.
All children are wonderfully unique. It's so vital that you don't compare your child to others. They all learn and develop at different paces and have different personalities, abilities, and skill sets. Remembering this will help you avoid setting unrealistic goals for your baby and children or expressing any subliminal disappointment at how they are progressing.
Make your ears available for listening.
Your baby has not yet mastered talking. They communicate using their cries and by making sounds. Pay attention to those "goos" and "gagas." Listen to what your baby has to say and let it trigger the start of a conversation:
"Wow, really? And then what happened? Keep talking; tell me more. "
Follow your baby's lead; repeat the sounds and vocalisations they make. By doing so, you show your baby that you are listening to them and that what they have to say is very important to you.
Enjoy uninterrupted play.
Children need to feel accepted and loved. This begins at home with their family and extends to other groups, such as school friends and their community, as they grow. So make time in your schedule for uninterrupted play with your baby. Laugh, sing, and talk to your baby, and show them that spending time with them is essential to you.
Instil independence and awe.
Self-confident children are willing to try new things without any fear of failure. To allow them to develop this independence, set up play situations that enable your baby to do things for themselves.
For example, heuristic play, where your child is given a box of safe everyday objects to explore; messy play with food materials or non-toxic paint; or sand and water play, are all open-ended activities that place your child in control.
When your baby is in charge of their playtime and can choose for themselves how objects, toys, or materials are used, they begin to build the confidence to problem-solve.
Encourage this exploration in daily life and look at the world with wonder-just as your baby does. Every new experience, from the most straightforward shopping trips and park visits to more adventurous outings and hobbies, can expand your child's horizons and build confidence in their capacity to handle new situations.
Be a positive role model.
To fill our children with confidence, we must first look at how confident we are in our abilities and set a powerful and sparkling example for the tiny humans that look up to us. Young children learn the most from their parents and carers. If the adults around them use negative language towards themselves or others, they'll think this is normal and copy it. So always use positive language when talking about yourself:
"My arms are strong enough to carry you."
Allow them to make choices.
Allow your child the freedom to make their own decisions; of course, you can limit these choices to adapt to your little one's developmental stage or abilities! But whenever you offer them something to drink, wear, or play with, give them two options to choose from. This will support their growing confidence and allow their child to gain a sense of control over what they do.
For example, "Do you want to wear the red or blue socks today?" or "Do you want the orange or purple plate?"
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