With the start of a new school term approaching I’ve been asked to write a piece on ‘What makes a confident child?” for a local magazine.
Let’s take a look at 7 powerful tips from children I have worked with over the years, who have learnt to feel more confident.
This is what confident children tell me they know:
1. Fear is normal and can be talked about.
A confident child knows that of course they don’t always feel confident.
When they feel reluctant about doing something, or perhaps frustrated or angry, they know that underneath these feelings is a fear, for example, of not having a close friend; or not doing well enough; or not being chosen for something; or being embarrassed in front of friends.
Confident children know fears like these are normal. They get quicker at identifying the underlying reasons for their emotions and talking about it with someone they trust. By doing this their fear reduces and they can be helped to manage and overcome it.
2. A growth mindset is important.
A child with a growth mindset uses the word “yet” a lot, for example, “I haven’t made the team yet”, or “I don’t know my spellings and times tables yet but I’ll get better at them if I practice.”
By using this 3-letter word regularly children see themselves as always developing and learning and to value putting effort into something difficult that they may not be able to do straight away.
(For more information search online for ‘Carol Dweck Growth Mindset’)
3. Learn to use your ‘Liquid Luck’
In one of the Harry Potter stories Harry gives Ron Weasley a potion of Liquid Luck to give him instant self-confidence before a Quidditch match he is dreading. Ron plays the game of his life, but at the end of the clip we find out that Harry didn’t actually give him the potion at all.
I know this is a fictional story, but confident children know that how they feel about themselves, is up to them.
One of my favourite quotes is:
“No-one (and nothing) can make you feel inferior, without your consent”
Confidence is something that we can find within ourselves when we practice doing it.
How would it feel to be a more confident person? How would you stand, move and speak? How would you approach something new or challenging?
Our brains can’t distinguish between imagination and reality (try imagining your favourite food and your mouth waters!) so by really imagining feeling and acting confident, we become more confident. Try it, it works!
4. Listen to you Winnie the Pooh voice.
We all have a little voice of self-doubt within us, the one that says “I can’t do this”, or “other people are better than me”. That’s what I call our ‘inner Gremlin’. Even very confident people have this voice but they know it saps their confidence if they listen to it too much!
I encourage children to ‘be their own best friend’ and to find their internal ‘Winnie the Pooh’ voice (he’s everyone’s best friend!) that says things like:
“I just have to try my best”; “no one is perfect, but I’m just as good as anybody else”; “I am unique and can share my ideas and what I can do”; “I can give anything a try.”
“I never lose. I either win, or learn”
5. Keep an attitude of gratitude
Confident children know that ‘failure’ is normal, and to be expected. It helps to keep our feelings in perspective if we are able to feel thankful, even when something hasn’t worked out as we hoped, and to always keep on trying.
“Success is learning to fail and fail and fail again, without loss of enthusiasm”
6. Helping others helps.
Children who have learnt to feel more confident know that everyone struggles with confidence at times. When we encourage others by saying something like “just try your best, show what you can do” we find it helps us to keep believing in ourselves as well.
7. Know what makes you shine.
An exercise I do regularly with children is to ask them to think about what ‘helps them shine’. We often draw an image, such as a rainbow, and write on it in different colours their favourite things to do, and people who help them to feel at their best.
If something happens that lowers a child’s self-confidence they can look at the rainbow for ideas to help them recover their confidence and ‘shine brightly’ again.
“Self-confidence is the best outfit. Rock it and own it.” Unknown
I wish you and your children a confident and fantastic new school year.
Please get in touch if you have any questions and feel free to leave your top tips for confidence below, it would be great to hear from you!
Take care, Cat x
P.S. A little bit about me if you are new to my blog:
I am a counsellor, author and expert for the media on emotional well-being, resilience and relationships. I help children of all ages, and their parents or teachers with:
emotional and behavioural issues
lack of confidence or self-esteem
anxiety about exams, transition to secondary school, etc
I deliver workshops and assemblies in primary and secondary schools around the country, as well as offering one-to-one private sessions from my home practice near Chester.
Find out more on this website or via: